Tigana's blast

Thursday 31 January 2002

From The Sun

JEAN TIGANA lashed his losers as Fulham surrendered to revival kings Ipswich.

A first-half strike from Marcus Bent, his seventh in eight games, saw George Burley's rejuvenated side leapfrog three teams to 15th in the Premiership.

It was the Tractor Boys' sixth win in seven Premiership games and for the first time this season, stuttering Bolton are now in the relegation zone.

It was a poor performance from Fulham, who stumbled to their first loss in seven games.

Striker Louis Saha admitted: "The manager was angry. He said we did not show enough guts and we have to work harder.

"That was a bad game for us. We did not create much going forward and did not play as well as we have done lately.

"Our confidence was a bit down and something was just not happening out there. We were not in a good way."

Club captain Andy Melville added: "We had a lot of possession but that is not enough.

"We are disappointed, but now have to pick ourselves up for Saturday's game with Aston Villa. But you have to give Ipswich credit, as they proved why they are moving away from the bottom."

Fulham improved in the second half yet rarely tested a defence which had leaked four goals against First Division Manchester City in the FA Cup three days earlier.

Rock-bottom on the morning of December 22 with only nine points and one triumph, Ipswich won 2-1 at Tottenham and have now bagged 18 points out of 21.

That form is as good as Manchester United's, and, while the champions have Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ipswich have Marcus Bent.

The two may be oceans apart, but you cannot argue that Bent, a £3million buy from Blackburn, has a recent record every bit as impressive as United's Dutchman.

Bent is playing with confidence and caught Fulham napping in the 10th minute.

Argentine midfielder Sixto Peralta, finally finding his feet after his summer loan move from Inter Milan, released the ball down the left with a flick to Alun Armstrong.

He steamed down the wing for 35 yards before delivering a cross which deflected off the boot of Zat Knight.

Bent raced in at the far post to get the touch on the line ahead of Rufus Brevett.

Burley said: "We have gone above three teams and that is pleasing.

"No Premiership team bottom at Christmas has ever stayed up, but I am sure we will.

"Marcus is doing well with his goals but, defensively, we're a lot better."