Alexander Kačaniklić was thrilled to be back in the white of Fulham on Saturday, but he was disappointed that he couldn’t mark his return with a positive result.
The 21-year-old was recalled from his loan spell with Burnley ahead of schedule last week and he was thrown straight into the action for the Barclays Premier League visit of Arsenal at the Cottage.
Indeed, the crowd-pleasing winger was dangerous on the ball and, along with Urby Emanuelson, put in a workmanlike shift supporting Dimitar Berbatov, but the Whites were unable to muster an equaliser as Per Mertesacker’s header proved decisive.
“It’s a shame that we couldn’t get a result on Saturday,” Alexander told fulhamfc.com. “I thought we performed really well. We played some good football, created chances and, as a result, I think we should have probably had something to show from the match.
“We can’t be happy with the result, but we can be happy about the way that we responded and played. For me, there were positives to be taken despite the defeat. But at the end of the day a loss is a loss, and that’s all that counts.”
It looked as though the Whites may be in for a long afternoon after Steve Sidwell was sent off after only 12 minutes for a mistimed challenge on Mikel Arteta, but, if anything, Martin Jol’s men were the stronger team following the red card and Kačaniklić was impressed by the character displayed by his side.
“We showed what a strong team we are, because some sides might have rolled over,” he said. “But not us, we kept fighting to the end and showed our team spirit.
“It’s difficult playing against a side like Arsenal with 11 men, so when you lose a man early and have to face them with 10 it’s even harder. But we did well, and for long spells I thought we matched them. We certainly caused them problems.
“We did create opportunities to score and had we managed to put one away it might have been slightly different. I think we deserved a point, though.”
The Sweden international impressed the staff and supporters of Burnley during his seven-week stint in Lancashire, but now he’s back in SW6 his sole focus is ensuring the Whites finish the season as impressively as possible.
“I’m really happy to be back at Fulham,” he admitted. “It was great to pull on the shirt again on Saturday and be out there with my teammates.
“It doesn’t feel like I’ve been away, to be honest. I played six games out on loan at Burnley, and it was a good experience. But Fulham is my team and I want to help them finish the season strongly.
“We have a chance to bounce back this weekend with a trip to Everton. That will be another tough game, but these are the matches that you want to be part of – it’s what the Premier League is all about.”