Praise for Inamoto

Thursday 12 September 2002

The fightback at Middlesbrough was a magnificent achievement, but how many fans felt, deep down, that it was a one-off result? Well, Wednesday night's amazing comeback against Spurs confirmed Fulham's new-found resilience as more than just a flash in the pan.

The Whites are now starting to make a healthy habit of coming back from behind. The first indication came in the Intertoto Cup away match in Sochaux, where Fulham twice levelled the match to ensure a 2-2 draw. The old statistic which states that the first team to score will usually win the game doesn't seem to be applying to Fulham any more.

Throughout much of last season, both Jean Tigana and Christian Damiano were calling for more goals from midfield. With Steed Malbranque netting the majority of those, support from elsewhere was definitely lacking.

However, the arrival of Junichi Inamoto appears to have had a rejuvenating effect on his fellow midfielders. After his heroics in the Intertoto Cup final against Bologna, Ina started the revival on Wednesday night with another trademark goal.

With Fulham two behind, the ball rolled out to Inamoto after some excellent approach work from Sean Davis. The Japanese International wasted no time in drilling his shot past Keller's despairing right hand - and the rest, as they say, is history...

Speaking after the match, assistant manager Christian Damiano stated Inamoto's importance to the side.

"Inamoto is an important player for us because he not only has the capacity to defend very well. He is a good passer of the ball; ninety percent of his passes are good," said Damiano. "He immediately makes himself available and he also has the ability to score from 20 yards."

"It is very important that when you have a midfield like Boa Morte, Legwinski and Inamoto that they arrive in the box to support the strikers. At this moment a lot of our goals have been scored by our midfielders, which is very important."

Also speaking after the match, Inamoto expressed his delight at scoring his first goal in the Premiership.

"It was great to score my first goal in the league, but to be honest I wouldn't have cared about it if we hadn't gone on to win," said Inamoto.

"Even when we were 2-0 down, I thought we could win it because there is such a great spirit among the team. We don't give up.

"My goal came at an important time and gave us the chance to do it and I think this result shows how we're beginning to grow up and mature as a team. I believe we have the possibility to do very well this season."