René's Reaction

Sunday 26 January 2014 16:30

René Meulensteen was left frustrated after Fulham failed to turn their superiority into goals at Bramall Lane as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sheffield United.

The Blades took the lead through Chris Porter in the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round tie, but the Whites equalised through Hugo Rodallega after Michael Doyle had seen red for the hosts.

It means the sides will meet again on Tuesday week at Craven Cottage, but Meulensteen would have liked to have seen a more clinical display from his team to avoid the need for a replay.

“We didn’t produce enough quality really,” he admitted. “We didn’t make enough clear cut chances to get that second goal. We hit the crossbar and the ball didn’t fall for us and we had a great opportunity after that when it bounced in front of the goal, but that was one of those things.

“The boys tried their best but there just wasn’t always the quality that we want. But, at the end of the day, they gave it their all and it’s my task on the training pitch to improve week by week and that’s what we’re going for.

“I don’t think we created enough in the first half; we had enough possession but not enough crosses or shots. We tried to address it at half-time and obviously the red card helped. We made it hard work to get that equaliser but I think in the second half against 10 men, once we got the equaliser with 15 minutes to go that we really should have put the game to bed.”

It was certainly an eventful match, with plenty of talking points, and when asked if he thought it was a classic cup tie, Meulensteen stated: “It had a lot of ingredients; the weather, the pitch, Sheffield United going in front, the early penalty shout that we had, they had one in the second half that could have killed us off, the sending off, us getting back in the game. I thought as soon as we got the equaliser we would probably produce enough to get the second. There were a couple of close shouts but it wasn’t to be.

“We’re still in it, we’ve got a replay so we’ve got another chance to get into the next round but for our level and the experience that we have, you should never ever get into a position where you could have lost. But we mustn’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

Meulensteen used the clash with the Sky Bet League One outfit to blood a couple more of the Club’s youngsters, with Josh Passley and Muamer Tanković both handed full debuts.

“If there are any positives that I take out of the game it’s two things; obviously that we’re still in it, and that the young boys we brought in were excellent,” Fulham’s Head Coach said. “Josh Passley at right-back, Chris David and Tanković in the middle of the park were very, very good, and Freddy [Plumain] was also very positive. So these are some good positive signs for us.

“It’s the best environment for the kids to have a real bite of the cherry to see what it’s like and I thought they acquitted themselves really, really well.”