Pride and Passion

Friday 3 December 2004

The past week has seen two dramatically contrasting displays from Fulham. First, they were outplayed and outfought by Blackburn and then they came back with a splendid display against Chelsea. Losing after a performance like Tuesday's, whilst disappointing, doesn't stick in the throat as much. Fulham really gave it a go against the best team in the country and came away with a lot of credit.

Jose Mourinho was very complimentary of Fulham and Chris Coleman after the match. But in a way his comments alluded to the fact that, in the League meeting, Fulham rolled over and made the game very easy for Chelsea. Without doubt, he was sincerely complimenting Chris on the performance but I don't think there was much praise flying around after the first match.

Cookie called for more passion after the Blackburn match and that's exactly what he got on Tuesday evening. But it wasn't just a performance of blood and guts, they also passed the ball very well. Quite often you'll see those two aspects of play going hand in hand. If a team is working hard and fighting to get the ball back, they'll be in the same frame of mind when in possession. That was they key to Tuesday's performance and they'll have to adopt the same frame of mind at Carrow Road.

There's no point in the players feeling sorry for themselves if something should go wrong. Take it from someone who's played in promotion and relegation sides, once you get in a relegation scrap, it becomes really hard.

Worryingly for Cookie, he hasn't been getting two performances the same this season. The team put in a good performance at home against Bolton but in the following match against Middlesbrough they were really poor. Chris has the basis of a really good side at Fulham. People can talk about systems and formations all day long, but if the players don't play with a passion and a hunger for the game, they won't get results.

Norwich recorded their first League win in their last home match, a game that I covered for Sky. They're a good side at home and Carrow Road is a great little ground with a superb atmosphere. At the moment Nigel Worthington's side are playing with an attitude that says 'maybe we're not quite good enough for the Premiership, but we'll give you a really good go.' As a result they're producing some very impressive displays.

Norwich have a slight weakness at the back, but as we saw with the Blackburn match, it's no good taking about the opposition's deficiencies if Fulham decide not to turn up.

I can quite confidently say that Fulham will win the game if they approach it in the same manner as the Chelsea match - anything else and the Sunday morning papers will be taking about Norwich's second consecutive home win.

In Darren Huckerby, Leon McKenzie and Mathias Svensson, they have some dangerous players. Fulham can not afford to sit back and defend, Norwich's only weakness is at the back so the Whites will have to get out of their shell and attack. The Norwich fans have only had one win to cheer so far, so even if Fulham managed to take the lead, the supporters won't lose faith. The win is in Fulham's hands, it's up to them to perform.

All the Best