Fulham 0-1 Blackburn

One by-product of poor man management is players feeling on edge. Take Shaun Hutchinson. On his Fulham debut he had a rough time of it. The right move then, I’m sure, was to play him the next week and let him play through his mistake. But no, he was frozen out. What happens in that time? Hutchinson, at a new club, presumably starts to fret. He wants to impress his new teammates, the fans, and instead all anyone’s seen of him is a bad hour at Ipswich.

His luck didn’t change in midweek when what looked like a really good tackle was punished with a penalty kick. By now Hutchinson, keeping score in his head, is really feeling it. He’s clearly desperate to do well but so far the move hasn’t been panning out.

He gets another go against Blackburn and seems to be playing quite well, then, as half-time approaches, he sees a chance. He surges forwards, but his touch is heavy. He’s trying so hard though, he thinks he can impose himself on the loose ball. He gets it horribly wrong, his opponent goes off on a stretcher and Hutchinson sees the red card that only underlines what a nightmare his Fulham career has been. He stands in disbelief. He buries his head in his hands. As he walks off he holds his hands up to the crowd in apology. He knows he’s blown it. He knows that this fiasco of a season is going to keep being a fiasco for another week.

(symons: Shaun was distraught in the changing room at half-time,” stated Symons. “It was a straight red, there was no doubt about it. The one good thing is that Williamson is okay as it was a poor tackle; a typical centre-half trying to come out and play, makes a poor touch and tries to make amends but compounds the situation. He knew it was a bad tackle but there’s no malice in Shaun at all and he’s upset and disappointed.)  (which is how to deal with these things, right? Don’t throw him under the proverbial bus)

But that aside, today was as good as Fulham have been this season. There was some sense of team play there, and while it was true the Blackburn ‘keeper hadn’t been unduly troubled, he certainly would have been worrying when Hugo Rodallega’s screamer flew just wide. The team seemed composed on the ball, more coherent certainly, and if it didn’t all come together then, well, I guess we can’t expect too much too soon, given everything that’s gone before.

The signs are good though. Scott Parker, who I feel is now getting excessively criticised, had a huge game in the middle of the park. He looks fitter and hungrier, and is starting to play the leader’s role we’ve all been expecting. Parker deserved his criticism last year but in the Championship he’s a huge asset. Well done, him. well done the team in general, really.

Kit Symons wasn’t afraid to use his best players so we saw Amorebieta and Ruiz in the same team for the first time this season, and clearly this is a good thing. If Ruiz didn’t carve out anything special he showed some nice touches in the middle of the pitch, and as he gets games under his belt he seems destined to shine. Rodallega and McCormack, likewise, will I’m sure develop into one of the division’s top pairings, and both are starting to show their class. McCormack probably isn’t getting the volume of chances he needs just yet but the team’s been awful, hasn’t it? As things improve – and I have never been more certain that they will – so too will the goalscoring opportunities for our forwards.

Sometimes you have to look beyond the result. And even a bit beyond the performance. For the second time in three games the team’s been down to 10 men, so that’s either a sign of ill-discipline or one of those things. The Forest penalty was extremely harsh, and while we can hardly claim bad luck in conceding five goals in that game, it’s fair to say that the rub of the green isn’t going Fulham’s way just yet. Even today’s concession was slightly unfortunate.

It’ll get better. Honestly, it will. We’re more likely to go up than down.

5 thoughts on “Fulham 0-1 Blackburn

  1. Good to have CCN back!

    This is refreshingly sensible- although we played considerably better for an hour (first half and last 15) against Cardiff in Felix’s last home game than we did today. On that note it was disappointing to see Hyndman dropped, and Christensen didn’t do much to deserve his spot ahead of him. Hoogland was also excellent in midfield against Cardiff and unless he did some terrible things at Reading / Forest which i didnt pick up on, I’d say he’s wasted at RB.

    Still, each new boss is entitled to try different combinations (as we saw with Sidwell/Parker last year) and by the end we were good value for a point, despite Hutchinson.

  2. It says so much that “a lot” seems fairly minimalistic that Ruiz returns to the team and Hangeland makes his presence purposefully known in the stands immediately after Magath was shown the door, right?

  3. The first half against Cardiff was superb as someone mentions above but yesterday wasn’t a great performance – acceptable after a difficult week but nothing more. Nice to see Ruiz back but confused why he was again played wide, he’s a central player, Hoogland is the same, holding please. Confusing playing Amore on the left – he isn’t a left back. Any sense that Fulham played better after Hutchinson was sent off? The Greek at left back meant we had more natural balance and Parker did play well (often seen screaming for the ball / dictating the games tempo) and i do like the idea of him and Emerson sitting in front of Hoog.

    But seriously, Hugo has to start scoring these sitters. Let’s hope it’s confidence issue and they start flowing. But what a player McCormack is at this level, his combination play with Ruiz was incredible considering they’ve probably never even trained together.

    Blackburn were terrible. The first 45 minutes was a hangover, I hope. Whilst Kit has a nightmare of a job, i was sort of expecting him to come in and immediately take the best points from the Cardiff game (the teams balance mainly, players in their ‘proper’ positions) and implement them, but he didnt. Which was sort of strange.

    Remain baffled why more people didn’t speak out about what was happening, godbless Brede. I’d still like to see Danny Murphy involved.

  4. Thanks rich. As often is the case after a disappointing result, it was good to read your positive view of events today. I came away from the game with more or less the same feeling and I am looking forward to the Birmingham game now. The season starts now.

    I must of been one of supporters that was willing to support Magath the longest and it is a huge relief that he is gone. I must admit to have been strongly influenced by Tony Gale’s comments describing the atmosphere at the club as really awful and oppressive. But that I wanted him gone before I read this.

    I was never that critical of the way we were playing under him. I saw a definite improvement last season from when he took over and I gave him a lot of credit for bringing the youth through. But his famously odd character must of been behind all these strange decisions of dropping players and playing players out of position. His character was clearly getting in the way of us playing our best team.

    What was great today was that the team selection was the best we had to offer and was finally not being handicapped by the managers personality. Obviously it is matter of opinion whether it was the best way for us to line up, but if anyone wasn’t included it definitely wasn’t because Kit had some personal issue with that player.

    What a relief!!

    Added to this, it was a pleasure seeing Parker finally play as a holding midfielder, instead of one row up in the diamond. It might seem pretty presumptuous to assume that Magath was simply too stubborn to play him in his favoured role. But why didn’t he? It must of been pretty bloody obvious to everyone else at Motspur Park! As you pointed out, Parker had a stormer today, got the crowd going and all.

    When the team lined up today on the pitch, I turned to the people sitting around me and said “we have such a good team!” Without knowing much about the other teams players of this league, I think we have a team, that when it gets going – roughly the same team playing a few weeks running and once Amorbietta and Ruiz have a few competitive games under their belt – we are good enough to get promoted (this year or next).

    It was also good to see our young CB partnership. Although I haven’t seen anything wrong with Budorov, his selection contradicts our policy of building a young team that will be good enough to play at the next level. And his quality certainly isn’t significantly better than either of Burn and Hutchinson.

    I would stick with Bentenielli. He had a couple good saves yesterday and played well at Brentford. I missed both games that Kiraly played but I heard he wasn’t great and given Forest only had five shots on target, there is a pretty good indication he added nothing that game.

    I am far from convinced with Hoogland and Stafylidis seems to be more equipped in midfield. But I assume in Kavanagh, Voser and Amorbietta we have a few decent options in either fullback position.

    The other position we might be a bit light in is defensive midfield. I spotted Karagounis at the game yesterday, which in combination with Parker and players like Hyndmann, R. Williams and Christenson should give us good cover and balance between youth and experience.

    As great it was to see Ruiz play today, he is definitely lacking confidence and looked a bit unwilling to express himself in front of the crowd that had last cheered his substitution. He too often picked the easy pass. His lack of confidence was particularly evident when playing along side the more adventurous Christenson. If he gets a man of the match performance in the next couple of weeks we could be a couple games away from having the leagues most creative player. If he has a couple mediocre performances and the crowd get impatient, he will be as much use as the end of last season. Fingers crossed!

    An in form Ruiz with attacking options of David, Eisfeld, Roberts, McCormack behind target options of Hugo, Smith and Woodrow should be enough to tear a new hole into the Championship and give us plenty to look forward to!

    Most people point to Dempsey’s departure as our biggest loss (even though we beat Norwich 5 nil while he was refusing to play). For me it was Dembele’s departure, ripping out the guts of our team, that was the real turning point. It has been a steady, sharp decline since and it has not been fun. I agree that this team will improve massively. And when we start winning matches we sure as hell appreciated it!

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