Fulham Vs Manchester City, Sun 18 Sep 2011

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Fulham manager Martin Jol has pledged to fight fire with fire when high-flying Manchester City visit Craven Cottage on Sunday.

The west Londoners have struggled so far this season in the Barclays Premier League, whereas opponents City have started in scintillating form.

Fulham only have two points on the board after four matches and Jol admitted earlier this week his side need to start turning draws into wins.

The Cottagers have drawn three out of their last four home games and the Dutchman believes the best way to change their fortunes against City will be to press from the offset.

"I plan for us to attack on Sunday," Jol said. "They play attacking football but still with two defensive midfielders and four players at the back.

"They don't take a lot of initiative but they've got four quality players that try to get behind your midfield.

"They have a lot of quality. We have to come up with something to stop that and still get goals."

The Dutchman highlighted in his programme notes his belief that the competition could act as an important platform to build confidence, and he thinks it is paying dividend already despite Thursday's frustrating result.

He added: "Bright points were Pajtim Kasami at 19 years of age played well and I thought Chris Baird too did well, playing for the first time in the centre."

Baird could again feature for Jol's side on Sunday with Aaron Hughes struggling with a knee injury and new signing Zdenek Grygera still bedding in.

City manager Roberto Mancini wants his team to develop the winning mentality of Europe's top clubs.

After City were held to a draw by Napoli on their Champions League debut in midweek, Mancini feels they still have some way to go to match the established elite.

The Italian said: "I want our team to have a strong mentality like (Manchester) United, like Milan or like Barca.

"All these teams that won the Champions League or the championship of their country, I think we need to have this mentality."

City have been in outstanding domestic form, winning all four of their league games and scoring 15 goals in the process.

Fans hope to see that form carried over into Europe but Mancini says he would happily sacrifice style if it guaranteed victories.

Mancini said: "We play always to win but we need to understand we can win without always playing well.

"You can play fantastic football but if you don't score, in the Champions League, it is difficult because every game you meet a top team.

"If you concede or make a mistake it can be difficult.

"So, for me it is better maybe to not play very well but to score and have control of the game, like United did, like Milan."

Mancini is expecting a tough afternoon as City return to domestic action at Fulham tomorrow.

The City boss expects the Cottagers, who drew with FC Twente in the Europa League on Thursday, to raise their game for the encounter.

He said: "Fulham is always a difficult game. Last year we won there but we played a fantastic game.

"I have seen their games and they are very dangerous.

"I watched Fulham against Blackburn on Sunday. It was a different game.

"When a team like Fulham or Blackburn play against a top team like us, United or Chelsea, they play better. They put in everything they have."

City will again be without midfielders Nigel de Jong and James Milner.

De Jong could be out for another two weeks with a foot injury while Milner will miss a second game as a result of a clash of heads in last week's win over Wigan.

Apart from that, Mancini will have his usual plethora of options to juggle, particularly in attack.

In-form duo Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, with 13 goals between them, have become the first-choice strike pair with last season's top scorer Carlos Tevez largely confined to the bench.

One player yet to feature for City is former Manchester United and England midfielder Owen Hargreaves.

The 30-year-old joined the club last month in the hope of reviving his career after three injury-ravaged years at Old Trafford.

Although he has not been included in City's Champions League squad due to a lack of match fitness, Mancini has been impressed with his workrate in training.

He is now likely to be given his first run-out in next week's Carling Cup third-round tie against Birmingham.

Defender Kolo Toure, eligible again after serving a drugs ban, is also likely to be back in action soon after two games as an unused substitute.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Aaron Hughes
European News
Manchester City
James Milner
Carlos Tevez
Premier League
Kolo Toure
Chris Baird
Nigel De Jong
Owen Hargreaves
Edin Dzeko

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