Relegation battle focus: Fulham

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Fulham sit in 19th place with just three games to go, but there is renewed optimism following positive recent results. A 2-1 away win to Aston Villa followed by a crucial 1-0 home win against Norwich has seen more confidence instilled in Felix Magath's side.

Even a 3-1 loss at London rivals Tottenham Hotspur couldn't dampen their spirits, with the Cottagers putting out a strong performance undermined by conceding sloppy goals. However, the fact remains that they are still deep in the mire and at real risk of ending their Premier League tale, for now at least.

Their fixture at home against a decent Hull outfit will present a must win game for the side if they aim to stay in England's elite for another year. 

Where it has gone wrong for Fulham seems a little unclear. Anyone would point to the instability at the club, and whilst that is a good reason to cite, all the managers that the players have studied under have been of a high standard.

Martin Jol began this season at the helm, and he had been there for some time. Jol had enjoyed another long period at Tottenham, gaining some good results.

Rene Meulensteen was the right-hand man of football management genius Sir Alex Ferguson, and although he lacked first hand experience of being a manager, he must have picked quite a few things up.

That brings us to current manager Felix Magath. A shock appointment, his no-nonsense style seems to have changed Fulham's attitude on the pitch and a never say die approach. He has had plenty of managerial experience, with a grand total of eight (yes eight) Bundesliga clubs under his belt, including Bayern Munich.

Although the German league is vastly different to the Premier League, he seems to have bought the success with him, along with a little luck too.

If Magath can continue his approach and keep grinding out a result or two towards the end of the season, then the games to be played will give the players and fans a helping hand. Their game against Hull is followed by a tricky game at Stoke City. Although Mark Hughes' men are in the top half of the table, Fulham will target this game as one to try and get something out of.

Fans may argue that they have little to play for, but Hughes has targeted records for his first season in charge.

Following that, most fans will have their eyes set on the final day, and it may well prove to be a very tense one. Already safe Crystal Palace have won five games on the bounce, but with games at home against Manchester City and Liverpool, they will do well to keep that record going until the final day.

Tony Pulis will have his players well drilled, but their form away from Selhurst Park hasn't been as great prior to this recent run. If Fulham can get up for the game and are in with a shout at survival, this could be the most important game in many years for the club.

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