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Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen believes starting games quickly could prove vital to his side’s survival chances following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
The Dutchman took over as manager of the club following his compatriot Martin Jol’s departure last weekend and has been charged with the task of keeping a side that have looked bereft of confidence in the Premier League.
His first match produced a narrow 2-1 defeat to Tottenham but the Cottagers looked a much better unit in the game and carried their form into the clash with the Villans.
An early strike from Steve Sidwell and a Dimitar Berbatov penalty were enough for the Cottagers to claim their first victory in eight matches in all competitions and moved them level on points with West Ham who currently occupy 17th.
Next up are two tricky ties with Everton and Manchester City before a run of three games they will surely be targeting wins in, with Norwich, Fulham and the Hammers to come over the Christmas period.
Meulensteen’s men made a rare fast start in the win over Villa, injecting some much needed pace into the side with the likes of Alex Kakaniklic and Ashkan Dejagah coming into the team and the coach believes the Cottagers have now set a benchmark for their performances.
“I think we set ourselves a marker last Wednesday and we wanted to build from that – that’s why there weren’t a lot of changes and the players lived up to that expectation and deserved the three points,”
Meulensteen told Sky Sports. “The way you start every game is key, I think it is very hard if you don’t really start sharp it is very hard to get back into the game.”