Martin Jol admitted David Silva’s early goal had made a difficult task even tougher as his Fulham side went down to a 2-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The Whites fell behind with less than two minutes on the clock when Silva scored after Mark Schwarzer could only parry Edin Dzeko’s long-range effort.
Fulham enjoyed plenty of possession thereafter but never really threatened Joe Hart and Silva made sure of the points for the hosts when he raced through to grab his second of the game with 20 minutes to go.
“If you concede a goal after a minute and a half you really fear it’s going to be a bad afternoon,” said Jol. “But it wasn’t; we did okay if you consider that they didn’t score the second until the 69th minute.
“I really felt that we could have done a bit more and scored an equaliser. The early goal didn’t help but Silva is probably the best player in the Barclays Premier League.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t score an equaliser to really frustrate them. Vincent Kompany is a player I know well and he had five or six easy headers when the final ball wasn’t great and I thought we could have done better.”
Meanwhile, Jol was quick to quash speculation regarding the absence of John Arne Riise from his matchday squad.
“John Arne Riise didn’t start so I said it was probably better that he didn’t come with us and did some extra exercise at Motspur Park,” stated Jol. “But he would never refuse to travel.
“I wasn’t happy with him after Liverpool so I tried to do something to freshen things up. It’s about competition for places. He’s an experienced player and he wants to play but Kieran Richardson has done a good job at left-back and deserves to start.”