Kieran Richardson admitted Fulham’s second half performance wasn’t up to scratch in Tuesday evening’s defeat by Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
The away side contained the Welsh outfit admirably in the opening 45 minutes, and had the better chances to take the lead, but a reinvigorated Swansea dominated after the interval and secured a deserved three points through Jonjo Shelvey and Chico Flores goals.
The Whites’ golden opportunity to break the deadlock was created by Richardson when he curled in a perfect free-kick after 20 minutes, but Captain Brede Hangeland couldn’t get over the ball and missed the target with his header from close range.
“Brede’s such a good header of the ball, so it’s just one of those things,” Richardson said of the squandered chance after the game. “He normally scores those but we need to make sure we keep creating some similar opportunities in matches and I’m sure the goals will come.
“We knew it would be a hard game. In the first half I thought we played well, we had a few chances but obviously we didn’t capitalise on them. In the second half we started very slowly and it’s always a killer to go a goal behind away from home as you know it’s going to be uphill from there. In the second half they played better than us – simple as that.
“They keep the ball so well which means it’s especially difficult to play against them when they’re in front. You find yourself chasing the ball and using a lot of energy which is tiring, and I thought we tired towards the end of the game, and you could see that.”
With a third consecutive Barclays Premier League game failing to yield any points for the Whites, there is now extra emphasis on Saturday’s meeting with Southampton at the Cottage.
Manchester United and Liverpool are our next opponents following the clash with the Saints, and Richardson insisted the importance of the weekend’s fixture is not lost on the players.
“We’ve got to focus on Southampton now,” he said. “We can’t dwell on Swansea as we’ve got a big home game coming up which is a must-win for us.
“It’s a massive game and we’re going to need great home support on Saturday. We know we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and put a big performance in because we owe the fans that. Like I said, it’s a must-win three points for us.”