Writer: Ollie Sheehan
Date:Thursday March 23 2006
Buoyed by the fantastic weekend result against Chelsea, Fulham assistant manager Steve Kean has expressed his confidence ahead of the trip to Villa Park on Saturday.
Confidence is high at the Cottage after a dismal run of defeats including the 6-1 drubbing at Anfield and the 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park was ended with the win over Chelsea.
The team seems to be looking like they can play as a more compact unit as they showed on Sunday and with Pembridge getting fitter with every game and Villa being made to look very ordinary this season and with nothing to play for, maybe this could finally be the game where the Whites break their barren away run.
'It was a massive three points on Sunday as it's the first victory over Chelsea in 27 years, not just for the result but for the performance and attitude of the players. It could have been all too easy for player's heads to drop following recent results, but they had such a good attitude. It did really highlight is the togetherness of the group. We have taken a bit of stick in the press recently for some of our recent form but we have been focused on putting it right”, Kean told Fulhamfc.com.
'I think when you go and play against the Champions and you don't give them a chance to get into their rhythm at any stage in the game and force them to change their shape three times and make substitutions as a consequence, then full credit must be given to the players for executing a game plan.'
It would be high time as the Whites now look safe with the season drawing to a close.
Having played sixteen games away from the Cottage it is amazing that they have not managed an away win yet this season. They have scored 14 goals on the road, but the problem has been the conceding.
The nucleus of the problem seems to be the attack-minded tactics of Chris Coleman. It leaves the game to open and any team playing at home will always look to exploit that kind of space. The 32 goals conceded away from home reflect that theory.
One of Fulham's major problems this season has been the inconsistency of the line-up, with Diop disappearing for 2 and a half months of international duty, Elliot coming in then getting injured; Pembridge and Christanval being out for long periods as well has given the team little stability to build on.
Now that everything seems to be back on track though, it is looking like this could be the day when Fulham finally break their duck.
Kean added: 'We're absolutely delighted for the fans, we have felt for them after recent games because although certain performances have been good, the results haven't been great. They started to get nervous and sometimes showed their frustrations, but the Chelsea game was our tenth victory at Craven Cottage, now we need to kick on and show our capabilities away from home, showing the same application, work rate, intensity and the same desire to win.”
Date:Thursday March 23 2006
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