Smith: Hard Work Ahead

Saturday 7 March 2015 12:43

Stepping out on to the Craven Cottage pitch has been a long time coming for Matt Smith but, despite marking his home debut with a goal, the landmark occasion is one he wants to quickly move on from.

Over six months after his summer transfer deadline day signing in August 2014, the 25-year-old finally made his bow in SW6 as a half-time substitute for Hugo Rodallega with the Whites trailing AFC Bournemouth 2-0.

Either side of a two-month loan spell at Sky Bet League One outfit Bristol City, where he netted 14 goals in 20 games, Smith's four Whites appearances had all been on the road.

But any joy from his first outing down by the Thames was short lived. After his strike pulled the score back to 3-1, Fulham fell to a 5-1 defeat as the Cherries moved to the top of the Championship.

"It wasn't the way I wanted my Craven Cottage debut to go, with a defeat like that," Smith told

"Collectively we know that that was simply way off it. It was not good enough. We need to readdress the situation and work even harder on the training ground to put things right.

"It was my first game at Craven Cottage and my minutes have been limited for Fulham since I arrived so it was a good opportunity to get out there and try to make an impact and I thought the signs were looking good at first, but, collectively, you can't defend in the manner we did."

Linking up with Ross McCormack on the goal, and again with his former Leeds United teammate to create another good chance, Smith made his presence felt both in the air and on the ground.

But a 69th-minute red card for Fernando Amorebieta, judged to have been the last man when tripping Callum Wilson, signalled the end of any sort of fight-back.

"After the red card, obviously there was no way back but I don't think you can point fingers at that, or point fingers at defenders," Smith continued.

"Collectively, as a group, you have to defend as a unit and we didn't do that. The disappointing thing was obviously the manner of the goals. We need to make a vast improvement and I'm sure there will be."

Fulham will have to wait a week before they can move on from this humbling, and Smith insists, if he is called upon from the start at Sheffield Wednesday, he is ready for action.

"Of course I am," he added. "The purpose of me going out on loan was to get my match fitness back after a couple of months on the sidelines. I feel fit and sharp now and I just want to keep on scoring and keep on playing."

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