One thing we all do when talking about sport is look for narratives. Presently the narrative is:
“Fulham are playing with kids and it’s possibly not working”
Now I don’t know. That feels a bit too easy to me. I’ve seen some really ordinary grown ups over the years. It seems too obvious to say that we’ve played kids and lost as a result because “this is different”. I’m not saying it’s not different but in terms of absolute ability I don’t know that anyone we’ve had on the pitch is showing inexperience. I don’t really know what that means anyway, other than it’s largely intangible. Again, I’m not saying it’s not important, but I don’t really understand it.
The big thing for me is that we’ve conceded earlyish in both games. Here’s something: there have been 19 victories in the Championship this season – all 19 were earned by the team that scored first.
Simply put: if you go a goal down it’s really hard to come back. Yes we’ve had 60% of the ball and quite a few shots, but that’s what happens when you’re behind. I don’t think it’s evidence of a good performance particularly, nor do I think it’s necessarily encouraging.
As we’ve discussed a lot over time, football hinges on small moments, and at this point in the young season the two big moments were Ipswich’s Murphy burning Shaun Hutchinson and the collective lapse that led to Millwall scoring so early on Saturday. The other moments were the Dembele save at Ipswich and Rodallega’s chances on Saturday.
So far the big moments have gone against us. I don’t necessarily know that this is because we’re using kids, rather that this is just what happens in football.
A final thought on Patrick Roberts. It’s true that he can come on and run through tired legs. It’s also true that both times he’s come on we’ve been behind. If you play your best players from the start, are you more likely to swing the match and control of same in your favour? Then you don’t have to chase the game in the first place.