Learning Curve

Thursday 6 September 2012 11:00

Following Fulham’s opening day 5-0 demolition of Norwich City and a narrow 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Martin Jol’s Team suffered a double dose of defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham United last week before the current international break.

Whilst the Team were evidently bitterly disappointed by last week’s results, Fulham’s second-half performance at Upton Park and Dimitar Berbatov’s impressive cameo role certainly lifted spirits, as defender Matthew Briggs explained to fulhamfc.com.

“We came off at Old Trafford with our heads held high, but Sheffield Wednesday in the Cup was a different story last week,” said Briggs. 

“We knew it would be tough against them but we didn’t perform as we should have. The penalty was harsh, but we never really did enough to win the game and everyone was really disappointed afterwards.

“Watching from the bench at Upton Park - it wasn’t good enough against West Ham. We got off to a terrible start and it was always going to be hard from that moment. We improved in the second half and Dimitar Berbatov showed what a good player he is when he came on. The way he controls the ball is a joy to watch.”

After playing against Manchester United and Wednesday, Briggs made way for John Arne Riise at Upton Park and the Norway international has certainly made a strong impression on the Fulham youngster. 

“I knew John was close to fitness for Saturday’s game against West Ham but I just trained as I normally do and made sure I was ready for the game,” Briggs explained. “He then trained on the Thursday and Friday without any complications so I kind of knew he’d be back in the starting XI.

“John is such a professional. He’s always one of the first to arrive for training in the morning and one of the last to leave. I’ve learnt a lot from him and he’s always telling me things I can do to improve my game.”

Briggs will spend the current international break at Fulham’s Motspur Park Training Ground after missing out on selection for England’s Under-21 squad for forthcoming qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Norway.

Whilst disappointed to miss out, the defender is now focused on gaining more minutes for the First Team as Fulham target a return to winning ways on Saturday 15th September when the Whites challenge West Bromwich Albion at Craven Cottage.

“I wasn’t in the latest England Under-21 squad but hopefully I’ll get an opportunity in the not-too-distant future and when another First Team chance comes along, I’ll be ready," said Briggs. "We’re back at the Cottage after the international break with a tough game against West Brom who have enjoyed a strong start to the season.”