Dan Burn admitted Fulham’s defensive frailties came back to haunt the Whites at Derby County’s iPro Stadium on Boxing Day.
Fulham more than matched the promotion-chasing Rams in a goalless first half, but fell behind shortly after the restart when Johnny Russell’s cross went in off a combination of Tim Ream and Emerson Hyndman. The visitors then had a real go at Derby but Jacob Butterfield’s late strike condemned Fulham to defeat.
"We've matched probably the best team in the league for 60-70 minutes but conceded two sloppy goals again,” Burn told the official website. "It's the same story every week and it's got to change.
"It was even I thought. We've shown before we can more than match any team in the league but we can't keep conceding goals like that. The first goal was fortuitous but Russell just breezed by us and that sort of thing can't happen, because those kind of players punish you.
"The second goal was a give and go - and was down to tracking runners. We had a couple of good chances before that; Ross McCormack had one that curled just wide and Matt Smith went close with a header. If we could have taken those, it would have evened it up, but at the same time we can’t keep conceding like we did.
"I thought we defended well from set-pieces and have improved massively on them. It's disappointing and disheartening, because we've worked really hard and we feel we're defending well. But you've got to concentrate for the full 90 minutes. That one little switch-off can cost you.”
Fulham return to action on Tuesday when Rotherham United arrive at the Cottage. The Millers thrashed fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers 4-0 on Boxing Day, but Burn is desperate to end a disappointing year on something of a high.
"Rotherham is a massive game on Tuesday now, so we've got to get the Derby result out our minds as soon as possible,” said Burn. "We've got players of quality and we always know we've got goals in the team. But we've got to stop conceding.
"Rotherham are coming to us on the back of a good result. So it's a massive game - a six-pointer. It's disappointing we've got to keep talking about that again but we've just got to keep battling. We need to end the year on the high. We've had too many bad results now. We need to get that win and then that can give us a bit of momentum.”