Meulensteen happy with 'inspired' Fulham despite Tottenham loss

The Dutchman tasted defeat in his first game in charge but felt his squad deserved more, before underlining Dimitar Berbatov's commitment following speculation otherwise
Rene Meulensteen expressed his disappointment after Fulham lost 2-1 to Tottenham but was delighted with the "inspired" performance of his squad.

Ashkan Dejagah had put the hosts ahead in an energetic game, only for Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby to snatch all three points for Spurs.

6/4 Fulham are 6/4 with Coral to bounce back against Aston Villa
And Meulensteen, in his first game in sole charge of first-team affairs, said his players performed as asked and is excited by the challenge that lies ahead for him.

"It is very, very, very hard to take," he told reporters after the defeat. "Fulham are going through a tough time, everyone knows that. I wanted an inspired and disciplined performance and I got that.

"The players responded well [from going behind] and we kept on going, with [Hugo] Lloris pulling off a few world-class saves.

"Sir Alex taught me a lot but what stuck with me most was accepting a challenge and enjoying taking that challenge on. And that's what we are going to do.

"We have to swallow this bitter pill but we will get straight back [to work] on the training pitch."

Dimitar Berbatov's agent claimed earlier on Wednesday that his client was "not happy" at Craven Cottage and is keen to leave in January.

Meulensteen refused to be drawn on the speculation, instead praising his striker's display and underlining his comittment to the club's plight.

He continued: "Berbatov was fantastic tonight leading the line. I know a lot about him from my time at Manchester United.

"The most important thing is to focus on game to game until January. Dimitar is a player who really cares for this club and that was evident tonight."