Wednesday 05 February 2014
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"
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.
Tuesday 4 February
Fulham 0-1 (aet) Sheffield United
Wednesday 5 February
Preston North End v Nottingham Forest
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