Fulham 0-1 Sheffield UTD AET

It’s the hope…

In this dirty toilet bowl of a season Fulham at least had the FA Cup, a home tie against a struggling league 1 side, another nice looking fixture booked for the next round, but no, we blew it.

It shows how football clubs are organisms, not merely 11 names on paper. Meulensteen named a perfectly reasonable starting XI but nobody could impose themselves on Sheffield United, nobody could rise above it all, nobody deserved anything. Whatever it is that has got to the players has got to all of them.

It’s not the players who left, it’s not the players who are still here. It’s not a lack of fight, because you probably won’t get two more determined footballers than Dempsey and Parker, who both started last night. It’s a fundamentally rotten core that is impossible to pin down and which feels impossible to exorcise.

Not that the current coaching staff seem to have done their bit either. Meulensteen is a skills coach, an attacking coach, and it is tempting to imagine the players spending all their days at Motspur Park watching videos of “Matthew Le Tissier – Unbelievable!”. Certainly nobody is worrying too much about defensive shape or attacking tempo, or if they are, they’re either teaching it badly or the players are stupid. Lee Dixon in the ITV studio managed to sum Fulham up in about two minutes: bad defending, where opponents get space where they shouldn’t get space, and languid, aimless attacking, in which no player injects tempo and nobody seems to have thought about what they might do before they do it.

True, vision is not something that can be easily expressed against a packed defence on a horrible February night, but someone somewhere might have had the guile to achieve something. But no, no, horribly no.

We had 210 minutes to beat this team and all we managed was a goal from Hugo Rodallega.

The United winner was unpredictable only in its lateness – I’m sure we all knew that a deflection or an own goal or a concession from a corner was coming, and with it that gut punch emptiness that says “oh”. As it was, there was no time to recover, Clint “never go back” Dempsey standing aside and allowing his man the freedom of Craven Cottage to stoop and head home.

I remember another goal conceded late in extra time to end a cup run. How times have changed.

17 thoughts on “Fulham 0-1 Sheffield UTD AET

  1. Watching the match on ITV 4 last night one could almost sense the sheer frustration of the pundits in Fulham’s abject performance . Overall , there was some praise for Sheffield United ( who were the deserved winners both tactically and in application) but it was their observations on our lack of effort or tactical nous which made me sit up (from my pending slumber ) and agree with them that I was angry too .

    Angry with some of the players who lacked any form of commitment – Kakanicilic , Dejagah and Dempsey and Amorbietta for his clumsiness and third rate defending .

    Hangeland was one dimensional but sensibly United played around him and did not try to go over him .

    Most of all I am ever so disappointed in the rigid and failing tactics of our coaching staff

    Mulensteen has demonstrated to me that he is not a leader of men and like many successful coaches , should stick to the role he does best – whether that should be with us or elsewhere remains to be seen .

    OH well , no more distractions from the forthcoming “great escape “- if I recall correctly , very few of them did !

  2. I like the idea of Rene, but the practical side of what he has brought to the team seems to be a complete disaster. There is a real lack of any system for the players to play in, worse even then the latter days of Jol’s tenure where at least there was some framework for the players if a real lack of appetite to work on where things were going wrong (defence).

    Due to the lack of a framework, I feel I can’t overly criticise the players, and although there were a couple of particularly poor performances, the players seem to have little chance of achieving anything if they are not instructed correctly.

    I think there is a tendency to over panic and get more worried than we need to be about the situation. We are 100% getting relegated, but we should look forward to a clean slate this summer with further integration of the youth and a systems manager with experience brought in to coach the side. We still have a wealthy owner, a good youth set up and a lack of onerous contracts. It might take longer than 1 season to turn this all around again, but I am confident we will at some point over the next 3 years.

  3. I’m not convinced this is Rene’s team – it looks and plays like Wilkins’s. A ggod few years ago Wilkins was the manager at Fulham and his style of play is exactly like we play now – it’s like watching grass grow or seeing paint dry. He is having too much influence. When Rene took over the first few matches of his reign were exciting, positive and created stacks of chances. Since Wilkins appointment all that has gradually gone. Wilkin’s has to go if we are to stay up and Rene needs to grow a pair.

  4. The more I think about it, the more we’re like Mike in Swingers (shameless self promotion to last post) trying to make that phone call. We got some digits. FINALLY! It may not feel right but hey it’s a chance to get back on the horse.

    But we’re so screwed up that we don’t know how to kill the bunny with our claws and fangs. So the only conclusion is embarrassment.

  5. Sitting watching that dreadful display of football whilst getting battered by the rain I looked at the Still Believe banner under the Cottage and it was dirty, dishevelled and flapping aimlessly in the wind. Oh how it exemplified the horrid situation we are in now. I don’t think many people believe after last night, they should take it down out of respect for the memories it represents or at the least look after it. It lacks care just like our club

    1. Agree. It was a spontaneous reaction that has been appropriated into a witless nothing that only serves to remind us how far we have fallen. But to take it down would be a signal of surrender.

  6. My biggest concern at this moment is how I am going to watch Fulham play next season. Following a Championship club in the States is almost impossible.

      1. Maybe if the club was smart and simulcast the games online (LOCAL COLLEGES DO IT), even for a fee, this could be easily be avoided but no this sport is so freaking luddite.

  7. Rene inherited a disaster, I don’t blame him, especially after such a short time as the boss. Had to laugh at this quote from him: “If you ask ‘have we hit rock bottom?’, we probably have. If you say that, then it cannot get any worse, it can only get better.” Way to take lemons and make lemonade!

    For those in the US, beIN has the rights to Championship games … alas, they don’t show many. Guess La Liga and Serie A take precedence! That said, Fulham will probably get coverage there as much as anybody (I say, hoping). Otherwise, internet feeds are getting better all the time. My friend down the street follows a Serie B team and never misses a game.

      1. Well maybe but money talks in these things and the central deals our clubs sign are much larger than those signed by italian clubs so it isn’t a straight comparison.

  8. Maybe a little off the topic but the Rodellaga thing has been bugging me and then tonight I stumbled across this…

    http://thepremierleagueowl.com/fulham-fans-and-hugo-rodallega/

    Now, I’m no fan of Hugo at all, but given we had an entire bench of midfielders and the opposition / conditions cried out for a blunt instrument, then it felt odd to remove our only real out & out striker (for Kasami)

    So were the jeers for Hugo or our lack of ambition in a game crying out for us to fo for it..? (the united fans were very pleased which is never a good sign)

    To me it felt like an insipid decision to cap an insipid performance and set the tone for for the next 60 minutes

    Maybe the whole Hugo thing is a red herring bit the team certainly seem to lacked balance and this was most apparent up front

    In end, organisation prevailed over quality and, whilst I don’t begrudge united their victory, you have to feel like we only have ourselves to blame for being ‘rock bottom’

    1. I just read that Hugo gave an interview with a Columbian network in which he basically says he felt humiliated by that substitution. He also said that he has no relationship with Rene. Oh dear…

  9. Dixon really did hit the nail on the head. He’s a good pundit. These are basics. They should be resolvable. And it did look like Rene was doing that when he was on his own. Maybe it was just a new manager bounce. But it was, at least going forward, very different and I can’t help agree with the poster above that our style reminds of Wilkins’s tenure. I think its quite possible that, after solid attacking performances but no results Rene turned to Wilkins to better organize the defensive side of things. The rest had not been pretty at all.

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