Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Edwin's Now a Rival but Still Defends Coleman

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Edwin's Now a Rival but Still Defends Coleman

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON JOHNSON

The keeper returns to Fulham tomorrow and says that he is impressed by the way his old boss is handling the club in tough times, reports Simon Johnson

EDWIN VAN DER SAR returns to Craven Cottage in a Manchester United shirt tomorrow urging Fulham to stand by under-fire manager Chris Coleman. Van der Sar is making his first appearance at Fulham since his [pounds sterling]2million switch to Old Trafford in July and insists he is still a huge fan of Coleman's managerial style.

Fulham's manager is under pressure following just one win this season. His side are 17th in the Premiership, but Van der Sar insists that Coleman is the right man for the job.

The 34-year-old got to know Coleman while the Welshman was trying to resurrect his playing career following a horrific car crash in 2001 and was impressed by the character he showed when he was forced to retire and join Jean Tigana's management team instead.

"Chris is a very good manager," he said. "I knew what his character was like when he was injured but still performed the role of club captain. His switch from ex-player to reserve manager and then assistant manager was incredible and then he took over from Jean Tigana. He's a good communicator and has formed a great team with the assistant Steve Kean.

"Steve does the fitness work, while Chris concentrates on talking to the players and being a real man-manager.

He is gaining loads of experience and is trying to move the club forward in difficult circumstances.

"He has many restraints but I hope he can keep them up and put them in a good position. I hope the club and the fans support him and stay with him because it's difficult for him."

Tomorrow will be the first time the Dutch international has played against one of his former clubs and he is just hoping to get a warm reception from the home fans.

He shouldn't have much cause for concern as he turned out to be one of Tigana's best signings, after joining for [pounds sterling]5m from Juventus in 2001.

However, once Manchester United made their interest known in the summer, the prospect of going to Old Trafford proved too good a chance to turn down. …

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