Having conceded after just 95 seconds on Saturday, Matthew Briggs believes Fulham found themselves facing one of the most challenging tasks in football.
When David Silva slotted in from close range, pouncing on Mark Schwarzer’s parried save from an Edin Dzeko strike, Martin Jol’s side had a mountain to climb. Throw in the fact that Manchester City had yet to squander a lead this season (winning 11 and drawing one), and a perilous task lay ahead.
“The Etihad Stadium is one of the toughest grounds to visit,” explained Matthew. “So when you concede so quickly, it makes it even harder. There are few teams that would recover from that, and of course, it set us back.
“You don’t want to be chasing a team like City for so long, on top of that, they don’t give much away here either. They are the champions of England and have so many world-class players.
“In a football sense, coming from behind at City is one of the biggest challenges. It was an uphill battle, and it just didn’t happen for us. You never want to go behind so early on, and this was an example of that.
“That said, prior to the last five minutes, I don’t think they had too many clear chances. At 1-0 we certainly didn’t roll over and capitulate. Some sides have come here, gone behind and have crumbled.
“We had a fair share of possession, and at times, we played some good football. We perhaps lacked that killer ball in the final third, but on another day we may have sneaked something. They scored their first goal at a crucial time, and that applied for their second also.
“David Silva added his and his team’s second on 69 minutes, and that was a real blow for us. If we had held them a bit longer, we might have created a breakthrough.”
Briggs replaced Kieran Richardson on 67 minutes, entering a game he described as ‘extremely difficult’.
“I came off the bench and of course, it’s an extremely difficult situation – we were 1-0 down against one of the best teams around and away from home,” he explained. “But you have to be ready and prepared for the challenge. I tried to make an impact, that’s all you can ask for really.
“I managed to get a few runs down the left and tried to support the players in front of me as much as I could. We wanted a goal, but it just never came. It was a frustrating day for us, and it always hurts when that whistle goes at the end of a defeat, but we will bounce back.”
With two wins in their last 15 Barclays Premier League matches, it has been an unquestionably testing period for the Whites. Briggs insists that the Team are confident they can find their form, and sooner rather than later.
“I think it’s only a matter of time,” said the 21-year-old. “It hasn’t been easy, and when you break it down like that, of course, it isn’t good enough. I do think we have been very unlucky at times, but that’s football isn’t it?
“Every side goes through bad patches, and that’s what we have to deal with. We have a lot of quality though, and I’m sure it will click into place for us.
“We’ll be looking to bounce back in our next game, although that said, that involves a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the FA Cup – so it certainly doesn’t get any easier. But that’s what top-flight football is all about, every week serves up a challenge.
“We need to find our feet again, we need to find the momentum that we had before. There are positives to be taken despite the results, and we believe we can find our form again.”