Get behind us

Friday 28 December 2001

Fulham defender Alain Goma has appealed to the Club's fans to get behind the team and create an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors and Matchday officials at Craven Cottage.

48 hours before the Whites take on Premiership Champions Manchester United, the former Newcastle defender says the team need more crowd participation - if only to help influence the referee and his assistants.

Talking exclusively with Fulham Today he said:

"We need to crowd to participate more. It's important for the fans to be involved but I would like to talk about the referee's also.

"On Wednesday Luis Boa Morte was unfairly booked again. He didn't deserve a yellow card. Actually the other player could have had a yellow card and we should have had a free kick. Then later in the game, perhaps we had a penalty. So we would ask the fans to get behind us more and try to influence the game."

"The supporters can help by putting pressure on him. From the start of this season the decisions haven't been on our side. It'd be good if our fans could help him make the right decision."

Goma's comments come after Fulham's 0-0 draw with Charlton was played in front of an unusually quiet derby crowd. Something that Goma is expecting to change for the visit of the Champions.

"I'm sure it will be different on Sunday. We need lots of vocal support from now until the end of the season. It can make a big difference."

On Fulham's draw with the Addicks Goma added:

"The result was disappointing but more importantly the way we played was poor. It was probably our worst performance this season, but of course we have the chance to put that right on Sunday."

"The good thing about this time of year is that you have a game every three or four days. So it's a quick chance to put any wrongs right. That's why after the game against Charlton we all have to give our best.

"We lost two points last Wednesday and now we need to get them back against Manchester. This is crucial to us."

Goma admits that he has been surprised by the amount of goals leaked by United so far this season adding:

"For such a big team they have lost a lot of goals. They had a bad period but now they are also scoring lots of goals so we'll need to be focused.

"They have the best strikers in the country and we are expecting to be busy. We must concentrate and hopefully we can keep another clean sheet."

One man who will represent a threat to Fulham at the weekend is Ruud van Nistelrooy. The United striker scored twice against The Cottagers on the opening day of the season and ruined the dream of a winning Premiership start. But Goma doesn't expect there to be any special treatment or plans to cope with United's big Dutch international adding:

"We don't play man-to-man marking so only if he comes into my zone will he become my responsibility. There are no special plans to take care of him."

Finally, the question that all Fulham fans want answering - can they beat United?

"Yes of course." Said Goma. "We'll need to be at our best and if we are there is no reason why we cannot win this game. If we are not, then it could be very difficult for us."