Fulham aces playing for Tigana

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FULHAM'S French contingent have backed manager Jean Tigana ahead of the West London derby with Chelsea.

Tigana was under pressure following the summer arrival of Franco Baresi as director of football, but he has done superbly in steering The Cottagers into eighth position in the table, and into a winning a position in the Uefa Cup tie with Hajduk Split.

Baresi has since departed, and the French midfield legend has thrived, despite the added disadvantage of playing home games at Queens Park Rangers' Loftus Road while Craven Cottage is redeveloped.

The players feel they were playing for their manager, particularly during the games against Middlesbrough and Tottenham.

"At that moment, we thought about him," admitted Alain Goma.

"If I am here, it is thanks to him.

"I have a kind of a debt to him.

"Despite everything, Tigana faced up to it."

Louis Saha is also enthusiastic about his coach, telling L'Equipe: "We played for him.

"It served him well. It would have been a shame to stop here.

"We all wanted to go on with Jean."

And in-form Syvlain Legwinski was the third Cottagers star to back Tigana.

"The results are here, and Tigana too," he explained.