It looked as if we’d done enough to earn a point against Manchester City on Saturday, only to suffer heartbreak at the end. But it showed that we’re a match for any team in this division.
We made a great start to the game. Whether it was a penalty, I’m not sure - only John Arne Riise can really answer that. But Mladen Petric looked very assured with the way he slotted home from the spot and it’s good to see him back from injury. He could form a decent partnership with Dimitar Berbatov when the Bulgarian returns.
When you’re playing someone like City, they’re always going to have spells in the game where they enjoy a lot of possession and as the match wore on, Fulham got deeper and deeper. That gave City space to play and invited them on and they’ve got some fantastic players who can really hurt you. That pressure eventually told with the late goals at the end of both halves.
Edin Dzeko has a record of coming off the substitutes’ bench and scoring late goals and he did that again on Saturday with virtually his first touch. Riise will be disappointed with his mistake that led to Dzeko’s winner but John’s an experienced player and he’ll bounce back. All players make an error now and again; I’m sure John will accept responsibility and look forward to getting it out of his system in the next fixture.
When I made a mistake in games, I felt like I’d let everyone down. But it’s one of those things that everyone does from time to time. I’m sure no-one’s blaming John and we move on to the next game.
That next game is an away trip to Southampton on Sunday for a live-on-Sky encounter. They’ve had a tricky start and I think it’s a good time for Fulham to be playing them.
It won’t be easy; the Saints have some good players, a good manager and they play football the right way. Rickie Lambert is a goalscorer who can do well at this level so Fulham will need to be on their guard and defend well.
Much has been said about Fulham’s away record over the past few seasons but in our last game on the road we went to Wigan Athletic and returned with three points in the bag. That was another tricky game as towards the end of last season Wigan played some fantastic football.
So if we can win there, then we should be going to Southampton in a confident frame of mind. The boys will know it’s another winnable away game and that victory at Wigan should give us confidence that we can secure another three points on our travels on Sunday.
*Rufus will be a host at Craven Cottage prior to our away fixture at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday 15th December.
The package includes a two-course buffet with beers, wines and soft drinks, private transfer to and from Loftus Road, match tickets in the away end, matchday programmes and a Fulham gift. Click here for more details.