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René Meulensteen: Was there something in the tea?

Dec 28, 2013, 1:04 PM EDT

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Fulham at KC Stadium on December 28, 2013 in Hull, England. Getty Images

It’s been a month since Martin Jol was shown the door and René Meulensteen took sole charge of Fulham. In those six matches, Fulham have managed two wins, but they’ve also recorded four losses. They’ve also conceded 17 goals, with losses of 4-2 against Manchester City, 4-1 at Everton and, on Saturday, 6-0 at Hull City.

The sides went into the change rooms at halftime at the KC Stadium with no goals scored. The teams walked off with Hull buoyed by a dramatic win – and Fulham remain in the relegation zone, with a -22 goal difference.

Meulensteen is bemused. “I’m shocked. I don’t know if there was something in the tea. I did not see that coming and the players did not see that coming.”

Well, Steve Bruce might not be pleased to hear that his players were lifted by a bit of something in their halftime beverage (or maybe it was Fulham that were dampened by altered tea? They certainly looked slow to respond to Hull’s attacks). The Tigers’ manager didn’t take credit for his side’s incredible second half performance, instead bestowing praise on birthday boy Tom Huddlestone, saying, “I’ve seen some great individual performances but I’ve never witnessed something as outstanding as what he produced today. Everyone else fed off that and joined in.”

Meulensteen, however, did shoulder the burden of Fulham’s loss. The manager stated, “The Christmas period is a busy period and we have to make a few forced injuries but that is why you have a squad. It’s my responsibly to make those changes so I take full responsibility.”

It’s just a few days until the January transfer window opens, and the Cottagers have Clint Dempsey returning on loan for a couple months. But, while the American can likely help bolster Fulham’s rather anemic goal-scoring rate, what’s clear from Saturday’s performance is that the club are in desperate need of shoring up at the back. Meulensteen and new technical director Alan Curbishley best get busy at finding the right players to strengthen the Fulham defense.

They might want to keep a close eye on that halftime tea pot as well. Just in case.

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