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A Tale of Two Teams

Fulham have been up and down all year. Just when you think they've turned a corner, they let you down again.

Ker Robertson/Getty Images

I say sorry to our fans who travelled with us to watch this game. We didn’t offer anything special. We played without spirit, without competitiveness, without desire.

Slavisa Jokanovic – post match remarks, Blackburn Rovers versus Fulham

No one should feel sorry for a single Fulham player after that terrible display against Blackburn. That said, I wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them for the long drive back to SW6 last night, trapped in the tight confines of the bus with Slavisa Jokanovic. Certainly the Serbian’s ire shredded the upholstery from the seats and fried all the electronics on board. And rightfully so.

Coming on the heels of one of the best matches of the season, the team that showed up at Ewood Park was anemic and lacking in desire from one end of the pitch to the other. Since it wasn’t televised here I could only listen to Gentleman Jim, but after a few minutes it was evident that we were in trouble. The smooth control and confidence we had displayed against QPR was gone, and back was the team that had been manhandled by Wolves after our last match against Rangers. Once again, the only bit of consistency in this team is its abject inconsistency.

Consider this: Blackburn Rovers had only netted four goals since December, and only scored 25 for the entire season prior to tonight. They lost top-scoring Jordan Rhodes to Middlesbrough during the last transfer window. They were one of only six teams below us in the table, and hadn’t won a match in two months.

The Fulham that showed up in Lancashire was a hollow, lifeless shell of the team from last weekend. The 90-minute replay was just recently posted, but I haven’t had the time or the stomach to watch it yet, so I don’t feel like I can rate the players on an individual basis. I can only say that, thinking back to Gentleman Jim’s broadcast, I can’t recall more than a handful of times he got excited about anything positive that we did on the pitch. That in and of itself it damning.

The players themselves certainly felt their performances were below par. Earlier today, Luke Garbutt tweeted out an apology to the fans and his teammates for his poor performance. Not long after that, the club posted a statement from Tom Cairney, where he said:

We have no excuses for this performance. It was really disappointing and we just have to put it behind us and get ready for Charlton.

It’s not really an apology, but like the result of last night’s match, we’ll have to accept it for what it is, and move on.

Next up are Charlton, who are 23rd in the table and one of the few teams in the Championship with a defense more porous than ours. They’ve only scored 26 times, and let in 56 goals. They currently have 25 points to our 32, and look to be one of the top candidates for relegation. If we earn anything less than three points, it should be seen as a devastating, telling defeat.

But we’re Fulham fans, and we have no clue which group of players will show up on gameday. We’re great at making poor teams look fantastic, so I’m not holding my breath until the full 90 minutes are up on Saturday.