Manager Reaction

Saturday 2 February 2013 20:42

Martin Jol insisted his side had turned in a performance to be proud of in Fulham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

The spirited Whites were more than a match for the Barclays Premier League leaders at the Cottage, going close on a number of occasions, before Wayne Rooney struck with just over 10 minutes to go to snatch the win for the Red Devils.

It was harsh on Fulham, who had gone into the game without the influential pair of Steve Sidwell and Dimitar Berbatov, the duo having picked up knee and hamstring injuries respectively.

“United are a fantastic team and they caused us problems in the first 20 minutes,” said Jol. “But during that 20 minutes we had two or three very good chances. The ball hit the post, went next to the post, a great shot, another shot. We could have scored but we didn’t.

“In the second half I thought we were even better. We looked dangerous and it was one of our better games this year, although we missed Sidwell and Dimitar.

“I’m still disappointed as we kept it at 0-0 for so long. You hope for more and it didn’t happen. But it was a good performance and one of our best this year.

“The most pleasing aspect was that we knew we had a couple of injuries. Giorgos Karagounis had to play again, he’s playing with his heart and I thought he had a good game.”

As well as the late strike by Rooney, Fulham had been dealt an earlier blow when Brede Hangeland limped off at half-time with a tight Achilles.

“Hopefully it’s not serious, but I fear we may have to do without Brede for a couple of weeks,” confirmed Jol.

Jol handed a second-half debut to recent arrival Urby Emanuelson, with the Fulham boss confident the loan signing from AC Milan will be a hit in SW6, along with fellow deadline-day captures Eyong Enoh and Stanislav Manolev.

“Urby came in on the last day with the help of one or two connections of mine and that was great,” stated Jol. “He’s a very good, intelligent player.

“We got the players we wanted. Enoh is a good player and our fans will hopefully like him. Manolev is back-up for Sascha Riether as Stephen Kelly went to Reading. He’s a full-back but he can play a little bit advanced as well. Berbatov knows him from the Bulgarian national team and four weeks ago he was man of the match against Italy.”