Hughes praises Meulensteen effect

Fulham defender Aaron Hughes believes the positive atmosphere Rene Meulensteen has instilled since taking charge at Craven Cottage is having the desired effect.

Rene Meulensteen

Meulensteen replaced fellow Dutchman Martin Jol as Fulham boss at the start of the month and has since moved the struggling Cottagers up to 17th in the Barclays Premier League, with just an inferior goal difference keeping them in the relegation zone.

Wins against Aston Villa and Norwich have been Fulham's only points in their last 10 league outings but Hughes feels the squad has always played with confidence - although he admits this is increasing thanks to Meulensteen's approach.

"The confidence has been as good as it has been all season," he said.

"Although the results haven't been there we have been doing good stuff and taking the things we have been doing in training in to the games and, but for a little bit of luck, we might have got more.

"He [Meulensteen] is a very positive character, if you make a mistake he will tell you but if you do something good he will make sure you know about it as well

"He has been positive with the lads since he came in and has looked to play in a positive way and the lads have bought in to that and tried to do what we have been doing on the training pitch. He has really impressed that upon us so to get the result was fantastic for us."

Good displays in defeats to the likes of Tottenham and Manchester City in recent weeks had given Fulham hope that they could survive in the top flight and, following Scott Parker's late Boxing Day winner at Carrow Road, the points have started following performances.

Clint Dempsey will return on loan for a two-month spell in the new year and, with Alan Curbishley also on board as Fulham's new technical director, Hughes feels they are starting to turn the corner.

"We knew we were going in the right direction," he said.

"It was important we were building on each game, which we have been doing, and today we finally got a reward. Hopefully we can take this now and keep moving on up the table.

"We are very aware of the situation we are in and we don't expect to get out of it in the next two weeks, it is a gradual thing.

"I think over the past few weeks our play has been positive, we have been playing well, so today to get the results is pleasing.

"We will try and keep looking up rather than behind us, it is important to keep the momentum, we won't get carried away."

A trip to Hull is next up for Meulensteen's side and Northern Ireland international Hughes is keen to keep the flow of points ticking over.

"We will go and try and play our football and make sure we don't lose," added the 34-year-old.

"You can't go somewhere and expect to win no matter how well you play but a similar performance like today and I'm confident we will get something."

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