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Wednesday 05 February 2014

'Things can only get better', says Meulensteen after Fulham FA Cup exit

Whites knocked out of competition by Shaun Miller header in last minute of extra time

  • Sheffield United's Shaun Miller pounces to head in the winner in the dying seconds

  • Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen has called for his side to stick together

Rene Meulensteen says his side's season "can only get better" after Fulham were knocked out of the FA Cup in the final minute of extra time by Sheffield United on Tuesday night.

"It cannot get any worse – it can only get better"
Rene Meulensteen

In a dramatic late twist at Craven Cottage, Shaun Miller's last-gasp header in the fourth-round replay helped the League One side progress at the Londoners' expense, but Fulham's head coach Meulensteen, whose side lie at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table and face a trip to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, insists things can only improve after this latest setback.

"If you talk about this game and ask 'have we hit rock bottom?', we probably have," the Dutchman told ITV4. "If you say that, then it cannot get any worse, it can only get better.

"We could have played until next month and not scored a goal," he added. "I think the knocks we have picked up over the last couple of weeks have definitely had an influence on the confidence.

"When it happens, that is when you need to stick together. We know we only have ourselves to blame, we need to look in each other's eyes and dig ourselves out of it."

Sheffield United have earned a home tie against either Preston North End or Nottingham Forest on 15 February.

Meulensteen, who had two spells as a coach at Manchester United between 2001 and 2006 and between 2007 and 2013, will hope to turn his side's fortunes around in Sunday's 4pm kick-off at Old Trafford when they meet a United side who lost their eighth Barclays Premier League match of the campaign, to Stoke City, on Saturday.

FA Cup fourth-round replay result

Tuesday 4 February
Fulham 0-1 (aet) Sheffield United

FA Cup fourth-round replay fixture

Wednesday 5 February
Preston North End v Nottingham Forest

FA Cup fifth-round fixtures

Saturday 15 February
Sunderland
v Southampton, 12.45pm
Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest/Preston North End, 3pm
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic, 3pm
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic, 3pm
Manchester City v Chelsea, 5.15pm

Sunday 16 February
Everton v Swansea City, 1.30pm
Arsenal v Liverpool, 4pm

Monday 17 February
Brighton & Hove Albion v Hull City, 7.45pm

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Key Points

  • Fulham knocked out of FA Cup by Sheffield United
  • Londoners sunk by Shaun Miller header in last minute of extra time
  • Manager Rene Meulensteen admits side have hit 'rock bottom' but can only improve from here