Experience the key

Wednesday 24 April 2002

Fulham's last evening match at Craven Cottage as we know it, certainly drew a fantastic performance from the team.

With Bjarne Goldbaek starting the match, the Dane's positional awareness and link-up play with Steve Finnan brought back memories of the First Division Championship winning season.

Record signing Steve Marlet continued to show his quality as he curled in a peach of a goal from the edge of the penalty area to give the Whites a 2-0 advantage. The victory was confirmed after Barry Hayles drove his shot home.

With the result confirming Fulham's Premiership safety in style, assistant manager Christian Damiano reflected on the season and admitted that England's top division is much more competitive than people give credit for. As a result, early predictions of a top six finish for Fulham might have been over-eager.

"When we arrived there were two players - Chris Coleman and Lee Clark - who had Premiership experience. They have both been injured this season, so it was presumptuous of people to think we would do better than we have.

"We signed Steve Marlet and everyone was talking about the £11.5million we paid. But he was injured when he got here, he then got another knock in his first game so even that has been quite difficult.

"We have stayed in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, so it has been quite a good season."