Super Sylvain

Monday 3 December 2001

From Fulham Today's Ian McCulloch

With one of their most accomplished performances of the season, Fulham made a top of the table Leeds team containing £11million signing Robby Fowler look very ordinary.

There were many candidates for man of the match, the back-line particularly catching the eye, but running them close was midfielder Sylvain Legwinski, moved once more into the holding role just in front of the back four. He explained after the game that the team's pride in their performance was tempered by the knowledge that the side were let down by that crucial touch of critical finishing that would have brought a handsome victory.

"We were both disappointed and pleased with the result," said the Frenchman. "It was a disappointment because we worked very hard to win the game, but when you look at Leeds who are a huge team, then it's not such a bad result to get a draw.

"We tried to push up on them, because we knew if we did we could create some chances, but their defence played very, very well, and at the end of the game they could have scored themselves, so we were ok with the draw."

The much-vaunted Leeds attack was largely anonymous, with goalkeeper van der Sar untroubled for much of the match. Fulham's miserly defence have now let in only thirteen goals in fourteen games and in all honesty did not look like conceding, even on the few occasions that the men from Elland Road broke forward in numbers. Legwinski's play had a lot to do with that, while performing his defensive responsibilities brilliantly, his dangerous runs forward kept the Leeds midfield busy. He was suitably generous about how well his colleagues played.

"Mel, Alain, Fin and Rufus played very well and were very tough against a very good attack. With players like Viduka, Smith and Kewell, Leeds are a very dangerous side, and it was important that everyone stayed focused and sharp through the whole game."

The little matter of scoring goals and killing off matches is undoubtedly still a problem despite the recent run of good form, the forwards seeming to favour dribbling the ball into the net rather than using a good old fashioned thump. Legwinski was not unduly pessimistic, pointing out that Fulham have now gone six games unbeaten and that the goals would come.

"That's football," he said. "Sometimes you score sometimes you don't. We did our best to succeed, and if it's not to be in this game, then it'll be the next game.

"To be unbeaten like this is a positive thing. There is no doubt that we have let a lot of points go where we should have won but haven't, but we're learning. We've only just come into the Premier League, and to not lose against a team like that, to play well, it's not bad."

I suspect that Leeds won't have a harder game this season, and for a team with Championship pretensions to sneak away from Craven Cottage grateful for their point, I think we'd all say that wasn't too bad.