Ashkan Dejagah admitted Fulham were stunned to find themselves 3-0 down with less than a quarter of the match played on Saturday afternoon, but insisted there were positives to take from the game.
Strikes from Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney put Manchester United in control of the Craven Cottage encounter but the Whites refused to lie down, with Alexander Kačaniklić’s second-half effort reducing the arrears.
Substitute Darren Bent then hit the crossbar, while former Reds duo Kieran Richardson and Dimitar Berbatov both had chances, but the deficit was too great to come back from and Ashkan and his teammates were left to rue the early barrage from United that yielded a trio of goals.
“I do think we were ready for the game,” Dejagah told fulhamfc.com. “We actually started well in the first few minutes but when Valencia scored the first goal I think it was a shock for the team.
“And it wasn’t long after that they scored the second and the third goals, and it was a bit of a sucker punch to find ourselves three down so early on. We were all shocked. It’s normal for the fans not to be happy with the result, we’re not either, but we tried to give our best and I think the second half was better and we actually had some chances to get back into it.”
In fact, the Whites created more opportunities than the visitors – including efforts on target – and Dejagah wants his team to use their improved display after the interval as motivation going into the next fixture at Liverpool.
“That’s a positive we can take,” he insisted. “I think we played well in the second half – we did in the first half too, aside from that 10 or 12 minutes when they scored three goals. But this is Manchester United and if you give them a chance they will usually score.
“We can definitely take heart from our second-half performance in the next game. We played good football and created some chances and if we play like that from the first minute at Anfield then maybe we have a chance. They’re a big team, Liverpool, they’ve played very well this year but we’ll try our best. We’ve got this week to work hard and hopefully we can play better next week.”
The Iran international played just over an hour at the weekend in what was his first appearance of the Barclays Premier League season. His only previous run-out in the current campaign was at Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup and Dejagah revealed his pleasure at pulling on the black and white shirt again.
“I was very happy to be back out there on the pitch to try and help the team,” he said. “Obviously I’m not happy with the result but I think, for me, it was a good game to play in and I’m happy to be back playing at the Cottage.