While Saturday’s defeat against Swansea City left defender Matthew Briggs deflated, the young left-back insists positives can still be taken.
Goals from Danny Graham and Jonathan De Guzman put the visiting Swans in front, but when Bryan Ruiz halved the deficit on 56 minutes, from then on, it was all Fulham. The Whites registered a staggering 23 attempts on the Swansea goal, however, an equalising strike proved elusive.
The Whites certainly had chances with Ruiz, Kerim Frei, Dimitar Berbatov and Giorgos Karagounis all going close as Martin Jol’s side forced Swansea onto the back foot.
“I think a defeat was a bit harsh, especially when you consider how well we played after the break,” said Matthew to fulhamfc.com. “After half-time we really came out firing on all cylinders. Their second goal came against the run of play, and they were a bit fortunate to get in the scoring position.
“We responded almost immediately with Bryan’s goal, and in creating a number of other chances we really should have had more to show than just the one goal. We had a lot of shots at goal and really worked their ‘keeper. For whatever reason, we just couldn’t convert them.
“Swansea played well, particularly in the first half, but luck was on their side. We know that we could have done a lot better than we did in the opening period and they made the most of that, but that’s what you have to do.
“For me, we deserved something, but often that’s not how football works. We showed good character and probably should have got ourselves back in the game as a result. But when you go 2-0 down at this level you always give yourself a mountain to climb.”
Appearing for the Whites for the first time since the 2-1 defeat of Wigan Athletic in September, Briggs looked assured – sound defensively and ambitious when moving forward.
“On a personal level, of course, it was great to be in the side and playing again,” he said. “I’ve been working hard in training and I’m very thankful for the Manager for giving me the opportunity. The result spoilt things obviously, because it would have been nice to have helped take three points.
“Hopefully I did enough; I’m ready for the challenge and want to prove what I can do. First and foremost, as a defender, it’s about keeping your opponent out. No one likes to concede and it’s something we will work hard on.
“Going forward I always think I have a lot to offer, supporting the players in front and getting down the flank is something that comes very naturally to me. I thought I did that against Swansea, but saying that, I’m working really hard to become a more complete defender.
“There’s a lot of football still to play, and I just want to be involved as much as I can.”
The 21-year-old is hopeful his side can bounce back and claim three points when Fulham take on West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day.
“We’ve had a tough time of late, and it’s been difficult,” added Matthew. “But we have to keep our heads up and keep working at putting things right. We know that we could have done better in some games, but there have been times where we have played well and still come away empty handed.
“We have to focus on the positives, because I think there is a lot that we can take from that second half against Swansea. We got the ball down, moved it and created a lot of opportunities – when we play like that we are a match for any team.
“The spirit was strong and it’s important we take that into the next match. West Brom are a good side and they’re having a good season so far. We’re not where we want to be in the table, so three points on Tuesday will do wonders.
“If we play like we did in the second half against Swansea, then we will cause them [West Brom] problems and make life difficult. The finish to 2012 has been disappointing, so hopefully we can open 2013 with a victory.”