Meulensteen backs experienced trio
Age is no barrier to a balanced midfield at Fulham, according to boss Rene Meulensteen.
Scott Parker, Giorgios Karagounis and Steve Sidwell bossed the midfield in Fulham's 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.
The experienced trio's combined age of 99 helped Fulham's starting line-up claim the record for the oldest fielded in the Premier League so far this season.
Discarded boss Martin Jol failed to get the best out of his midfield options.
But new manager Meulensteen is confident he can push his influential trio to new heights for the Cottagers, by keeping them fresh as well as fired up.
"What you get in exchange for age is experience," said the former Manchester United first-team coach.
"These players are well-trained: it's our job in the staff to make sure they have the energy to play at this level.
"And it's important that you use them in the right jobs that are right for the team, and that's what I've done."
Karagounis' industrious display delighted his new manager, with Meulensteen indicating the 36-year-old can play a pivotal role in boosting squad morale.
Meulensteen said: "Well on top of that performance he's a fantastic character, he's an inspiring person, and that transfers onto other players and transfers to the fans.
"The win is a massive boost: it was a massive feel-good factor, although we lost against Tottenham last Wednesday.
"And it was vital to maintain that feelgood factor then back it up with three points too.
"It was important for the fans to see that we really are back on track now too, and that is equally important for the players to realise too."
Meulensteen insisted loan striker Darren Bent is only battling a hamstring complaint, and there are no issues with his general fitness levels.
Fulham travel to Merseyside to take on Everton in league action on Saturday, with Meulensteen not yet ruling Villa loan man Bent out of the equation.
He said: "The hamstring is the only reason, obviously he couldn't play against Villa because of the loan."