Great Dane

Wednesday 24 April 2002

So in the end, Fulham saw out their final night game at the old Cottage in some style. It might have been a stroll by the finish, but against a well-organised and tenacious Bolton side, the team had to battle hard for their three-nil victory.

A brilliant save from Edwin van der Sar in the very first minute set the tone for the game as Wanderers created a number of good chances, but a solid looking Fulham team rode out the stormy opening and gradually imposed their class on the game.

Man-of the Match Bjarne Goldbaek playing superbly, taking his opportunity to show what he could do with relish. It was an historic night at the Cottage and Goldbaek gave a performance to match. Clearly delighted with the way everything had gone, and obviously overcome by the sound of his name ringing out around the ground, he spoke after the game about how much it meant to him.

Bjarne, you looked like you were enjoying yourself out there....

It was my first start since Ipswich in January, and that was only for 45 minutes, so I was very pleased with the way it went. In the first half there were a couple of occasions where I lost the ball but then got it back from a re-bound, and then you start to think - actually, this could be your day today.

It was just fun to play with Steve Finnan as well, we know each other so well from last year; as soon as he plays the ball I know what he's going to do next, so it was just a question of me getting the ball to him in the right place at the right time.

That was a feature of the Leeds game as well, how good you and Finns looked on the right....

It's a big advantage when you get a good link-up like that. Finns is full of confidence as well, he's on the way to the World Cup and he's playing very well at the moment, so that makes things a little bit easier, of course.

You must have been pleased with the way the crowd reacted to the way you played?

It was really nice. I could have stayed out there for hours - we haven't heard it like that for a while.

Despite not playing first-team football for a while, you didn't look short of match sharpness....

The last few reserve games have been on good pitches, and we've won them and that helps to build up confidence, and you try to take that into the next game. But really, I didn't have much to lose; I didn't have to prove anything to anybody about myself. Obviously I was delighted that we won, but I was also pleased that I had a good game too.

Although it was uncomfortable in the end, Bolton looked like tough opposition in the first half....

I think that we were just physically better than them. We had a lot of possession at the end, and of course when you have to chase the ball you get very tired mentally and it's difficult to get everything out of your body. In the end I think they'd given up with fifteen minutes still to go!

You took your goal very well....

One defender came out and he got quite close to me, and I just tried to concentrate on the ball and keep it down. But it was nice to see it go in.

Is it a shame that a game like this couldn't have come a few months earlier for you?

It would have been nice in August at the start of the season! I had a couple of games early on, and then we brought in some new players, and I went out of the team and couldn't get back. But now I'm just pleased to get a chance again. I had 85 minutes against Leeds after Boa Morte got injured and it was good to stay in the side.

With Boa Morte injured, perhaps you'll finally get a run in the team?

Firstly, it's sad that Luis is out, but I'm obviously happy that I'm getting a chance to play, and I'm really looking forward to the last two games and hope that I can play a part in them.

Was there much tension before the game with relegation still mathematically possible?

We really wanted to finish it off and I think it was a very nice way to do it. I think the manager and the Club are very keen to get into the InterToto Cup, so that's looking a good prospect.

Your contract's up at the end of the season, would you be happy to stay at Fulham?

Of course, I like it here very much. We have a good team, and the training is now very similar to the way it was in other countries that I have played in. We try to play nice football here, which is important, and we have a lot of fun on the training ground and in the dressing room. You can see that everything is growing at the Club; I can still remember when I first came here two and a half years ago and we had to wash all our clothes ourselves, everything is so different now.

I have to admit that the uncertainty does hang over your head a little bit, I've got schools to sort out for my son, and the renting of our house, that sort of thing, so it's difficult to make plans, but I would very much like to stay next season.