The Tony Gale Column

Tuesday 12 November 2013 13:53

I feared the worst ahead of our trip to Liverpool last weekend and unfortunately those concerns came true. The worrying thing wasn’t just the scoreline, it was the performance and the four we conceded could have been a whole lot more.

When the first goal went in the heads just seemed to drop and that’s what happens when you’re down the bottom. I’ve been in similar situations and it’s hard but when confidence is low, you just need to baton down the hatches and do your upmost to improve. If performances get better, the results will follow. There’s no substitute for hard work and there’s no excuse for not working hard. I’m trying not to be too critical but as a team we haven’t worked hard enough this season - that’s not pointing the finger at anyone specifically, it’s a collective thing. You have to be showing that you’re making that effort and not sinking into that trap where everyone’s feeling sorry for themselves.

We’ve slipped into the bottom three now which doesn’t make good reading but I still maintain that we’ve got better players than at least six other clubs. It doesn’t take a lot to get out of that position. Look at Newcastle United – all of a sudden they’ve got wins against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and got six points by virtue of tough, gritty performances and everyone putting their bodies on the line. Now it’s time for Fulham to do that. We don’t have to look pretty – at the moment results are the main thing.

Losing Sascha Riether for three games was a blow but he only has himself to blame after his stamp on Adnan Januzaj. I was commentating on the game and the slow motion replay didn’t make good viewing. It was quite out of character for Sascha but he’s got no excuse.

A lot has been made of the reaction of the fans when Bryan Ruiz was substituted against United and it doesn’t help anyone. Bryan Ruiz is Bryan Ruiz – you’re never going to get him running about and closing people down, it’s just not in his nature. When he’s not doing what he can do very well - manipulate the football and create and take chances - then you can have a moan. But you can’t have a go at him for not running around like a lunatic. Yes, he maybe needs to show a bit more willing but he’s a classy player and the fans need to get behind him and the team.

I’m commentating on the Swansea City match at the Cottage and it’s a really big one for Fulham. Swansea aren’t doing that well this season either as they’ve had the UEFA Europa League to contend with. Hopefully they’ll still be without Miguel Michu as he’s a big player for them and he’s been injured of late.

They’re a team that can really keep the ball well and the home fans will have to be a little bit patient if we don’t have as much possession as the Swans. If we’re not winning after 15 or 20 minutes we don’t need the home support getting on the backs of the players. It’s a time for everyone to stick together. It’s hard as fans and the players can understand their frustrations. But if I was playing I’d be hoping that everyone gets behind the team and helps us to get the three points.

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