Damiano hopes to finish the job

Friday 12 July 2002

The first team squad departs for Finland on Saturday morning with the awkward prospect of beating a well-organised defensive unit on their home ground.

Despite their goal being under almost constant threat, FC Haka put up stern resistance at Craven Cottage, much to Damiano's frustration.

"The first match against Haka flowed in only one direction," said Damiano. "We probably had ten big chances to score during the game. But when those chances came we either missed, were very unlucky or their 'keeper made a great save.

"We were disappointed with the result. In the first game of any season it's normal to have some difficulties. But we will have a good opportunity to qualify for the next round on Sunday.

"Haka only played at the back. Against us they never passed, they either played a long ball or tried to push up - but they didn't create any real chances."

Even though the Whites held the majority of possession, the most frustrating aspect for those gathered at the Cottage was the sense that Haka were standing on very shaky ground, yet Fulham were unable to push the advantage home.

Tigana and Damiano modified their midweek training sessions accordingly.

"This week in training we have focused on playing a better final pass and on our positioning on crosses.

"Offensively Haka will be more confident because they will have Popovitch back. But this will give us a good opportunity to take advantage of the space and play a more effective counter-attacking game."