We need goals

Wednesday 26 December 2001

Fulham assistant manager Christian Damiano revealed his frustration at his side's blunt attack after the home strikeforce fired Boxing Day blanks against Charlton at icy Craven Cottage.

The 0-0 shutout established Charlton's new post-war club record of 10 consecutive top-flight London derbies undefeated.

But the match only remained scoreless thanks to two woeful early misses and a succession of late chances for both sides that also went begging.

The Addicks' Jason Euell came up with the first big error when he dispossessed home captain Andy Melville but hit the post when one-on-one with Edwin van der Sar.

And Fulham's Louis Saha produced Christmas Blooper number two when he advanced into a great shooting position on the stroke of half-time but somehow made only minimal contact with the ball when he seemed certain to score.

Damiano said: "Our problem is that we need to score more goals.

"I know it's an excuse, but the pitch was difficult. We had one good chance for Louis in the first half, but the ball jumped up.

"In the second half, we also had one or two good situations to score. We have midfielders and other players who can score and will continue to work normally and try to progress with our players.

"Today was a difficult game for us and we didn't play very well. Charlton played well and that was no surprise because they're a good, organised team with fantastic spirit."

Damiano also leapt to the defence of Luis Boa Morte, who collected a yellow card for diving when he opted to take a tumble over Graham Stuart's 20th-minute half-tackle on the edge of the Charlton penalty area.

Damiano said: "I saw the video. He never dived and the Charlton player never played the ball. I saw it from four or five angles and the pictures speak a lot.

"We don't want to give the referee a lesson, so we accept the decision. We have the attitude to play well and try to respect the referee."

The first half - which contained the two worst misses - was a rather disjointed affair, with neither side discovering the fluent passing football which they are capable of.

After the break, van der Sar almost got in on the act by scoring a disastrous own-goal - before making a world-class double-save that kept the scoreline blank. A late flurry of chances also failed to break the deadlock.

Dean Kiely made a top-draw save from an impressive 25-yard Saha free-kick in the 76th minute, while Barry Hayles hit the side-netting after a storming run down the left wing three minutes later.

Van der Sar made two saves - after a fine Kevin Lisbie run and John Robinson drive - while Cottagers substitute John Collins agonisingly side-footed a yard wide in added time.