Curbishley brings needed experience

Alan Curbishley will steel a Fulham squad "too good to go down" for a frenetic Barclays Premier League relegation battle, according to boss Rene Meulensteen.

Meulensteen admitted he recruited former Charlton boss Curbishley as first team technical director for his relegation fight experience.

The former Manchester United coach said ex-Chelsea man Ray Wilkins will have a "hands-on" role as assistant head coach at Craven Cottage, while Curbishley's duties will fill a "wider range".

Curbishley tasted top-flight relegation with Charlton in 1999, only to bounce back at the first attempt and consolidate the club's Premier League status.

Confident Fulham will beat the drop, Meulensteen said: "I think there's enough quality and expertise, and we've done a great job by bringing in Clint (Dempsey) for the next two months.

"He knows Fulham, he knows the Premier League.

"Ray talks a lot of sense, he knows the game and I think he's very, very good in managing players on a one-to-one basis.

"Ray is going to be very hands-on with me, I want him with me in the dressing room.

"Alan will have a wider range of support, discussing what we've got in front of us, with us bouncing ideas off each other.

"He feels what it feels like to be in that scenario (fighting relegation).

"The last thing you want to have in that scenario is insecurity, or fear. That then affects the performances.

"It's not new to us to be in that bottom three. What we're looking at now is getting out of that."

Meulensteen said there will be no clash of egos working with two former managers as part of his coaching line-up.

Fulham host West Ham on New Year's Day, looking to move up from 18th place in the league by improving their tally of 16 points from 19 games.

Buoyed by his backroom additions, Meulensteen said: "I don't want to overlook anything, I've always been in situations different from what I'm faced with now.

"I've always been in a situation: we pick a team, we train a team, we win the next game, we move on, we win the next game, boom we're in a final.

"This is different: this is a relegation scrap.

"Alan has been there, so he can give a different slant to it.

"If any of them would not have been comfortable joining me as part of the staff, they wouldn't have done it.

"It's not like we appoint them then see how it works.

"We've had chats with Alan, numerous chats with Ray as well, and it just clicks, I feel it, it's a really great combination."

Meulensteen remains confident he can keep star striker Dimitar Berbatov at the club past the January transfer window.

The Bulgaria forward's agent revealed Berbatov would seek a move at the start of the month.

But Meulensteen is unfazed by talk of an exit.

"I think I can keep him," he said.

"When I took over what we talked about was focusing on the six games.

"I said 'I want you to be focused, I want you to be committed, and if that's the case you're part of my team'.

"And that's the case.

"As soon as you get into January you enter a world of speculation, and we deal with things as and when.

"We have a good team of people around us to make sure we don't get caught off guard."

Fearful of former Manchester United starlet Ravel Morrison's potential impact on Wednesday, Meulensteen tipped the 20-year-old to make England's World Cup squad next summer.

He said: "I worked with him when he first came to the club, when he was eight or nine, so I spent many, many years with him.

"What you see in him coming to the forefront in the Premier League is that he's more than capable of playing at this level and making a difference.

"When you're good enough you're old enough: I think he's good enough."

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