Fulham made 11 changes with the trip to Swansea this Tuesday very much in mind. It’s always instructive to see our talented Academy kids and to speculate whether and what grade they will mature. Four started, Tankovic, Plumain, Passley and David. The absence of Anglo Saxon names reflects how kids are now recruited globally, not like the old days when a scout would go to the local park.
The game was played in atrocious conditions and on Radio 5 the ever-opinionated Alan Green maintained with his customary nasal omniscience that, but for the television, it would have been called off. In fact both sides maintained a high level of passing, though in the second Fulham were careless in losing possession. Under our new coach we resemble Arsenal a bit as our build-up is fluid, but there is no Van Persie or Giroud to finish off the move. We managed few shots on goal for all our possession. For most of the second half it was 11 against 10 after the Sheffiled United skipper was red-carded for a violent challenge. Taraabt had me swearing at him. He is the most frustrating of players as the skill is there but he often chooses the wrong and most selfish option.
I am beginning to enjoy and appreciate Rene Moulensteen’s post-match interviews. He does not moan at referee decisions like David Moyes, or just moan like Arsene Wenger, though he has every cause to criticise travelling to Sheffield on a Sunday and then Swansea on Tuesday. No, he maintains a cheerful, jocular, attitude which the players must like too. Unfortunately for us, the replay does not ease the fixture chaos but no doubt will be another opportunity to assess our younger players. I think it was unfair of Green to say 11 changes disrespects the FA Cup. He played a mix of experience and youth but clearly has to rest key older players for a vital game at Swansea.
The passing of Dennis Turner has hit us all hard. I keep the programme in the loo and was reading his elegant description of players in a series he was doing of players, position by postion. Dennis has been writing in the programme for over 30 years but no more.