Fulham to benefit from Ferguson's influence

Rene Meulensteen hopes to transfer Sir Alex Ferguson's thirst for a challenge into his fight to keep Fulham in the Barclays Premier League.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Meulensteen has admitted he will draw heavily on Manchester United great Ferguson's influence to drag the Cottagers away from the drop zone.

Fulham's new Dutch boss was Ferguson's chief lieutenant at Old Trafford, operating as first team coach from 2007 until David Moyes' arrival in the summer.

And Meulensteen said of all the lessons his former boss imparted in those six years, the decorated Scot prized guts above all else.

Fulham host Aston Villa at Craven Cottage on Sunday, looking to arrest their six-game league losing streak and record a first victory for their new manager.

Meulensteen said: "I've been fortunate to sit alongside one of the most successful managers in Sir Alex Ferguson.

"He taught me a lot but the one thing that stood by me, in life, in football: you're faced constantly by challenges.

"You want challenges, and sometimes they are in adversity.

"The most important thing is to accept the challenge, embrace the challenge, and enjoy taking that challenge on.

"And that is what we're prepared to do.

"I will definitely draw into the experiences that I've had of Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I've spent a long time working with top, top players: hard work and the good work that will go in will eventually manifest itself on the pitch."

Meulensteen will tell his Fulham charges to be wary of Villa's own experiences of battling a rough Premier League ride.

The Fulham manager praised Villa counterpart Paul Lambert for fighting early-tenure fires through placing his faith in youth.

Meulensteen expects another exacting test against the Villa Park outfit, but said if his side equal the commitment showed in Wednesday's 2-1 Spurs defeat they will always have a chance of victory.

He said: "Villa is a good team.

"Paul Lambert was in a similar situation last year, he chose to really put out an energetic young team, he's gone through that and we have to deal with that.

"Every club and every manager is different, but I think we can all agree that every positive result or performance always starts with hard work, commitment and discipline, and that's what we got on Wednesday against Spurs."



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