Martin Jol admitted his side need to regroup quickly for two home games in five days after Saturday’s disappointing loss at West Ham United.
An early second-half goal from Mohamed Diame plus late strikes from substitutes Carlton Cole and Joe Cole condemned Fulham to a 3-0 loss at Upton Park – the Whites’ fifth successive league defeat.
The reverse leaves the Whites in the relegation places, making the two forthcoming home games with Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa crucial.
“We dealt with the long ball and we had a few good breaks in the first half,” said Jol as he reflected on the defeat to West Ham. “There was a situation with Darren Bent and the booking for George McCartney when he was one-on-one with the keeper. But the first half was okay.
“The second half we came out and they scored straight away. They switched off in the midfield, Scotty Parker was on the ground, Steve Sidwell lost the ball and they scored with a deflection and that killed us.”
Jol felt West Ham’s second reflected the Whites’ luck of late. Kieran Richardson was waiting to be substituted after picking up a hamstring strain but before he could be replaced, Stewart Downing beat him down the right and crossed for Carlton Cole to score.
“For the second, we wanted to take Kieran off with a hamstring problem but he still had to sprint and they scored the second,” said Jol. “We brought Moussa Dembélé on for the first time and after 30 seconds he did his hamstring and couldn’t run. He was my last substitution and that summed it up.”
Fulham’s poor run of results doesn’t make good reading and Jol continued: “We’re in a difficult situation but we have to work hard in training and try and get our confidence back but it’s not easy. Three clubs go down and we’ve played 13 games, there are a lot of matches to go. You have to be strong mentally and fight for the points and I’m a fighter. We always regroup because they’re good lads.”
Jol made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 at Swansea City last weekend and was pleased with Adel Taarabt’s contribution after handing the Moroccan a start.
“In the first half we did okay – we played with different strikers," said Jol. "Dimitar Berbatov was unavailable and I dropped Bryan Ruiz to try something different because we wanted to play with more tempo. Adel did very well in the first half but we couldn’t exploit the situation with runners and movers.
“I feel that Fulham will be fine. It’s a matter of showing your resilience and what you can do.”