Leggy looks to Spurs

Friday 6 September 2002

With many fans hailing the Intertoto Cup final victory against Bologna and subsequent UEFA Cup qualification as one of the Club's greatest achievements to date. There was a sneaking suspicion that the following match against West Brom would not be a relatively straightforward affair.

If you were asked the question, 'Which would you rather face, a newly promoted side from the First Division or one which beat both Inter and AC Milan last season?' The answer would be a no-brainer.

Yet events on the pitch at The Hawthorns last Saturday, once again, demonstrated the old adage that football isn't played on paper.

Despite being at the disadvantage of having a year's less Premiership experience, the Baggies made up for any shortcomings with a combination of organisation and fighting sprit. On the day, that proved to be enough.

Looking at the Premiership table now, one can't help but feel, in some way, hard done-by. Up until Saturday, Fulham were undefeated for ten competitive matches, yet the standings now read 'Played three, won one, drawn one and lost one.'

Speaking at the Club's Motspur Park training ground this week, midfielder Sylvain Legwinski was naturally disappointed with Saturday's loss. However, he acknowledged that stewing over the result would do little to change the outcome.

Instead, he was already looking ahead to next Wednesday's encounter against Spurs at Loftus Road. And there's certainly no better team to play at the moment.

"Tottenham will be a very important match for us after the disappointment at West Brom, so we're all focused on that game now, said Sylvain. "Spurs are a very good team, last season we had many problems against them so we know it will be hard work.

"It's very exciting to be playing in Fulham's first UEFA Cup game. We're very pleased to arrive at this level and we're very impatient to play our first match. But at the moment we have to think about Tottenham.

"Last season, they were the only team, along with Arsenal, who outplayed us. We still think about those games, especially the match at White Hart Lane, which we lost 4-0. It's a warning that we'll have to play very well to beat them this time."

Much has been made of the fact that Fulham's Intertoto Cup participation would have had a positive effect on the levels of fitness inside the camp. Certainly, that theory was proven against Bolton and with a late rally against Middlesbrough.

Yet Legwinski was keen to point out that the players haven't suddenly been lifted to a level of fitness far above the rest of the division.

"The Intertoto Cup forced us to become very fit early in the season so that was good for us. But we always have to train hard, when you have three games in a week, you can't train so we have to do a lot of work now."

Circumstances certainly appear to be conspiring against Fulham. Not only are a number of players away on international duty, risking potential injury and fatigue. But those remaining behind still have to face the frustration of last Saturday's match.

On top of that, an encounter with last season's bogey side lies in wait. It doesn't look good on paper does it?