Steve Sidwell believes that hard work is the key to getting Fulham out of our current sticky patch.
The Whites were defeated 2-0 at Manchester City on Saturday, a loss which means Fulham have won just twice in their last 15 league fixtures.
Goals in either half from City’s David Silva in the second and 69th minutes did the damage at the Etihad Stadium and, reflecting on the loss, Sidwell, who returned from a hamstring strain, said: “Obviously it wasn’t the greatest of starts from us. But being 1-0 down you know if you can keep in touch by playing well and doing the right things, then you’ve always got a chance.
“We started brightly in the second half, but we knew that if they got that second goal it would give them a bit of a cushion. Fair play to the boys, though, we kept plugging away.”
Joe Hart was rarely tested in the City goal, but Sidwell went close to an equaliser with an effort that came off his shoulder and clipped the outside of the post.
“I should have scored so I was disappointed with that,” he stated. “It would have been a good time to score as well but it’s little sparks like that which you need to go your way to get back into a game.
“When things aren’t going well for us in that final third, you tend to drop deep and try and get on the ball. You then lack options in that final third. The game plan was to try and get it wide and get crosses in and we did that and we were unlucky on a few occasions. It’s disappointing but we’ll try to bounce back in another tough game that’s next up. We’ll keep plugging away and working hard.”
Sidwell insists his determination to help the Whites return to winning ways is shared by his teammates.
“It’s been tough,” he admitted. “The Christmas period is always hard with the amount of games. If you can come through it having done well then spirits are always high. “Coming out of this one, it’s been tough but it’s all about team spirit now, digging deep and working for each other. You’re not going to get results if you don’t work hard, that’s the first thing you do.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Fulham with an away trip to Manchester United in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser on Saturday (5.30pm). The Whites then host West Ham United and the Red Devils in league action at the Cottage.
“We’ve got some big games to come now, starting with United in the cup,” said Sidwell. “It’s a break from the league and we need to go up there, not sit back and try and play our football. We’ve then got two hard league games so tricky fixtures are ahead but we look forward to them.”