The ledger now reads P17 W4 D1 L12, with a goal difference that tells us that this represents our futility so far.
The signs of improvement are everywhere and while other teams seem well able to beat big teams once in a while, the cut-throat Manchester City squad was never going to be one that this Fulham team could see off.
Or maybe they could. For long periods in the game Fulham more than held their own. Everyone was on their game and Dejagah and Riether in particular were dominating their side of the pitch. The real revelation, however, was Adel Taraabt, employed as a lone striker and given instructions to try to make something happen if he could. He’s well suited to this, those basketball one-on-one skills are almost unmatched in the top division and with precious little support his decision making wasn’t really an issue. He simply got it and had a go. Occasionally he might have taken a different approach or executed the one he did take differently, but it seems churlish to complain when 90% of what he did do was first rate. It’s another example of a player being given a role and a situation that works for him. Well done him, well done the coaching staff. Whether it’s the way to go against other teams remains to be seen but he’s earned more opportunities for sure.
Otherwise it was what it was. City brought on Jesus Navas, who’s like lightning, and that felt critical. Our team is now hard working but there’s no-one there who can run and the back four, Riise’s department in particular, seemed likely to be troubled sooner rather than later. So it proved: Amorebieta let a ball bounce, then one thing led to another and Navas went from being half-troublesome to clean through, and he scored.
Lots of positives though. One thing we’ve often asked for from this team is a bit of tempo and they showed a lot of that in attack yesterday. A similar performance against lesser teams ought to be good enough for a decentish haul of points, although such is the hole that’s been dug that even this may not be sufficient. Time will tell.