"Pottering about" - Post Stoke

Paul Gilham

So despite feeling like Death this Monday after, I am inclined to think that my current state could have been much worse had it not been for the introduction of Darren Bent late on Saturday. I am yet to defect across to the Jol out brigade but I will say that had we lost to Stoke then i would more than likely have come around to that way of thinking.

I have justified it so many times in my head but the main factors around supporting Jol remaining the same in terms of there being very few credible candidates who would inspire more confidence in running the team as well as that any incoming man would still have to work with the same group until at least January. I have however come to terms with the fact that we really aren't very good, lack any real sense of style or shape and on present showing probably should be omitted from the group labelled as "To good to go down".

While Mr Ambition's post match press conference regarding how "Fulham will be embarrassed that they won that game" are perhaps a little wide of the mark given that 3 points is 3 points, any team that conceded 56% possession at home to a team like his certainly should not be proud of their performance. They also registered 16 shots to our 9 which from memory the first real attempt of our own was not until after at least 20 minutes. Whether or not Jol would have actually used Darren Bent were it not for the injury to Berbatov is up for debate although if Saturday taught us anything then it should perhaps be that the Bulgarian is no longer an automatic first choice week in week out.

One of the few positives to take out of the game I thought was the work rate and closing down by a handful of players. The efforts of Cardiff the week before reminded us all of why we were so successful under Hodgson with defensive work starting from the front and running all the way through the team. as one unit. It's understandable that this could suffer with the introduction of players that perhaps pride themselves more on flair than work rate but the likes of Kasami, Duff, Sidwell and Boateng late on all all showed a genuine sense of passion and more than anything helped re energise the crowd.

The atmosphere in the last 25 minutes was completely alien to the general pessimism and sense of feeling sorry for ourselves that festered throughout the first half. That is not to say that we were any more entertained but it certainly makes a difference when you can see that the players are actually trying. An 80 yard burst of pace from Riether did much to lift the Hammersmith end even if he was perhaps dead on his feet by the time the chance to shoot came around. Kasami's throughout was admirable leaving many questioning why it has taken him so long to get more of a chance around the first team. As much as he didn't necessarily stand out, the return of Damien Duff really benefited the side particularly in terms of holding the ball up in the final third and providing a much needed experienced voice in the absence of Hangeland and Parker.

At the back we still look incapable of defending set pieces and were it not for Riether being well placed on the line a few times then the outcome could have been much much worse. Amorebieta and Senderos didn't do any worse than when Hangeland was on the pitch although that is perhaps more a reflection on the Norwegians recent form than anything else.

The final whistle did not signal a turning point or that fundamental changes had been made to ensure a win but rather that we had just rode our luck a little more than in recent weeks. The win will suffice in buying Jol more time in the job but the performance will do nothing to relieve any pressure from the fans. The performances of a few did little to compensate for what on the whole is a shadow of the Fulham we know. I will try and hold out a long as possible on the #JolOut front although every week is going to feel like sudden death for a while. The injury to Berbatov on Saturday was without doubt a blessing in terms of securing 3 points but if Jol is to ever shape this team as a functioning unit capable of "Being To Good To Go Down" then he should perhaps prolong that blessing to a while longer.

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