Before the Fulham match on Saturday I thought a win on the road was very important for Fulham. I watched earlier in the year, Fulham destroy Hull City at Craven Cottage. I was very confident going into the match regardless of Fulham's record on the road.
Before the match, I checked online to see what the starting lineup was going to be for the Cottagers. I thought maybe Bobby Zamora would be sitting on the bench, and that would be the extent of the lineup changes. I was shocked to see how many changes there were to the lineup from the last match. Bobby Zamora, Danny Murphy, and Damien Duff were all out, and not even listed as substitutes. Dickson Etuhu and Aaron Hughes were not starting, but were on the bench. They ended up not playing at all either. The fact that all these players were not starting surprised me before the match.
As a fan I want the best lineup out there every match. I believe if the players are able to play they should. I have never been a believer in "resting players" in a match unless they are hurt. Bobby Zamora was suffering from an illness in the last match. I could understand him not playing, but why all the other changes for the Cottagers?
Roy Hogdson is the manager, and not a fan. If he went by what I wanted, and other fans every week he would be out of a job quickly. Am I at training every day? Do I know if any players need some extra rest? Do I know if any players deserved more playing time from hard work? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding "no".
Hogdson needs to make tough decisions for what he thinks is right for his club. In the article from Skysports.com "Hogdson defends his selection" , he explains some of the reasons for the selections on Saturday. According to this article on Skysports.com Hogdson stated " We played 7 matches in 21 days in February. We played eight in 24 days in March, and we have got another seven or eight in 26 days in April". Hogdson also stated" I do not think it is fair for anybody to suggest that we can do that with 11 players.
Hogdson also talked about why some of the players were playing in this match. According to the Skysports.com article, " Hogdson defends his selection" Hogdson stated " I think the players who have come into the team, Dempsey for Zamora, Dikgacoi for Murphy and Chris Smalling for Hughes, I think I am entitled to say that those players are more than capable of playing at this level". I would definitely recommend reading this article in its entirety if you have a chance.
Based on what I have read the decision of player selection for the match were a couple of reasons. First, it sounds like Roy wanted to rest some players because Fulham have been playing a huge amount of matches in a short period of time. It also sounds like to me he wanted to give some players a chance to play that he feels can do the job. Who am I to judge? I am just a fan who loves the team. I want them to win every match and that is not possible.
I do understand why Roy Hogdson made the lineup changes on Saturday. As a fan of the club I just don't happen to like the decisions made. What I do know is that Hogdson is making decisions that he thinks are in the best interest of the club. He has the knowledge and the information that fans like me do not have.
Roy Hogdson is one of the reasons I love Fulham. I think he has done an extraordinary job with the team. For me there is no other manager I would want for the Cottagers. He is the right manager with the right club. It is a perfect fit. I might not like everything he does, but I know how lucky Fulham are to have him. I might not like these decisions on Saturday, but I do know they were made in the best interest of the team. In concluding there is one great thing I can say about the Fulham manager. Roy Hogdson manages "his" way for Fulham.