As the saying goes, a week is a long time in football. Just six days after beating top-of-the-table Derby County at the Cottage, Fulham were sent crashing to a 5-1 home defeat to another promotion-chasing team in AFC Bournemouth on Friday night.
The players took a while to emerge from the dressing room as they came to terms with the loss and Sean Kavanagh admitted morale was unsurprisingly pretty low.
“As a team we didn’t play great,” he told the official website. “It was a hard loss to take. They’re a good team, that’s why they’re up there sitting top of the league. We didn’t deserve anything from the game.”
The Whites found themselves 2-0 down at the break, a lead that was increased after the restart. Substitute Matt Smith offered the Whites a glimmer of hope with a well-taken strike on his home debut but Fernando Amorebieta was then sent off and Matt Ritchie scored from the resulting free-kick. Steve Cook’s late stunner then rubbed salt in sore Fulham wounds.
“At 2-0 down, it was hard to come back from,” said Kavanagh. “We just weren’t good enough on the night. We have to try and pick ourselves up this week ahead of Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. We’ve now got a full week to sort ourselves out and get our heads up for Sheffield.”
One of the few positives for Fulham on a poor night was the display of Smith. The striker replaced Hugo Rodallega for the start of the second half and caused Bournemouth’s defence all sorts of problems in his 45-minute cameo.
“Matt did well when he came on and he also played well at Watford in midweek so he’ll be pushing for a start on Saturday,” stated Kavanagh. “We play a bit different when he comes on but he scored and put Bournemouth on the back foot. Unfortunately Fernando then got a red card soon after and they scored straight from the free-kick which finished us off.
“Sheffield Wednesday’s pitch isn’t the best so it might mean we have to play a more direct game. That might suit Matty and I’m sure he’ll be eyeing a starting role on Saturday.”