First, he has to somehow instill confidence in a Fulham side that hasn’t won in seven matches. With only five matches to go until the end of the season, Sanchez has little time to make a dramatic difference. Ironically, his first match is against Reading at the Majeski Stadium this Saturday. For six years, Sanchez was a player at Reading where he started his football career.
Fulham currently has 35 points. If they win against Middlesbrough, those 38 points will probably not be enough to escape relegation, so Sanchez will need to work wonders to get points against Arsenal, Liverpool, Blackburn and Reading — all very difficult opponents.
Hopefully the anticipated antagonism by the press won’t provide Fulham and Sanchez with any unneeded pressure.
Sanchez has a huge mountain to climb in the space of five weeks. However, all Fulham needs is two wins out of their last five. If he can accomplish that, Fulham and Northern Ireland will be thankful. If he fails to do so, he’ll probably return to Northern Ireland with his tail between his legs, and the Northern Irish fans will hope that this then doesn’t have a negative impact on the country’s performance trying to qualify for Euro 2008.
Between August and November 21st when Northern Ireland plays its last Euro 2008 qualifying match, the country plays six matches — which is probably too much to ask for Sanchez to manage both Fulham and Northern Ireland. However, I’m sure Fulham is focused on the short-term right now and trying to avoid relegation. Best of luck to Sanchez in a difficult situation.
Should Chris Coleman have been sacked? If Sanchez can keep Fulham up, I think the answer is yes despite Coleman’s achievements in recent years. At the end of the day, Fulham has to stay up this season to receive the bundle of TV revenue that Premiership sides will get starting next season. Financially, Coleman’s departure may have been necessary.