Martin Jol bemoaned his side’s poor start as the Whites were beaten 4-1 by Manchester United in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
For the second time in a week in Manchester, Fulham found themselves a goal down early on. Last weekend, the Whites fell behind to David Silva’s second-minute goal for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
And on Saturday, Jol’s men conceded a penalty against United with just a couple of minutes on the clock – awarded for a handball by Aaron Hughes - with Ryan Giggs dispatching the spot-kick past Mark Schwarzer.
A further second-half strike by Wayne Rooney and a brace from Javier Hernandez then put United firmly in the ascendency, before Hughes’ late header provided Fulham some consolation.
“The early goal stemmed from us losing the ball in midfield in the first minute – like against Man City,” said Jol. “From the corner-kick, it must have been a handball, although I haven’t seen it.
“We were still in it which was a positive thing but there was no conviction in our possession; we couldn’t link up from the back to midfield and we couldn’t get the ball forward. But after the two early goals in the second half, the game was finished.
“Before last week, we were unbeaten in four games, with two good away wins. But the game against Man City, we conceded after two minutes and we were our own worst victims.
“Today, United played with four players up front. They tried to stretch us and we could do nothing about it; there was a big gap between their defence and midfield. Every time we tried to edge on, they were stronger than us. If a team like them play an offensive 4-2-4 you can try to hurt them but they were too mobile for us.”
Attention now turns to Wednesday’s crucial Barclays Premier League clash with London rivals West Ham United at the Cottage.
“I don’t think there were a lot of positives today,” continued Jol. “The only thing you can do is try and keep your head up. We play three games in 10 days and hopefully we can pick ourselves up and pick up the points on Wednesday as that is the most important thing. After today and conceding a goal in the second minute that will be difficult.
“We are not in the top half of the table, we know that. There are seven or eight teams around us and we have to pick up points against them. We need a win on Wednesday.
“You have to earn the right to play football and then I think our quality up front will always cause problems but we lack a bit of urgency sometimes.”
Jol could have Emmanuel Frimpong at his disposal on Wednesday after snapping up the midfielder on loan from Arsenal for the remainder of the season on Friday evening.
“He will train with us and then we’ll see how fit he is and whether he can play on Wednesday,” stated Jol. “I feel he can play a good part in our squad.”