And how sweet it was. The ground rocked to another famous Europa night under the Craven Cottage lights. Four goals provide the coup de grace in supporting the old maxim, "Cheats never prosper."
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Waving my journalistic credentials I have to say the scoreline flattered Fulham a tad, and it was only in the final 20 minutes I felt we really held sway over our opponents from Cracow. Make no mistake. Wisla had ability, plenty of fluidity and crisp passing, invention and - dare I say it - probably a more effective midfield than our own. They also had plenty of sights at goal. We got lucky with one ricochet back off the post, had their finishing matched their approach play, the result might well have been tighter. Also, Schwarzer remains in outstanding form. Pushing 40, we have it on record from inside the camp he remains an absolute beast in the gym and is working harder than ever to retain agility and sharpness.
A year ago I was content to see him shipped out to Arsenal, feeling he was blocking the progress of Stockers. I am happy to admit I was wrong. The big Aussie has staked an early claim for Player of the Season and his EPL stats for clean sheets put him among the elite guardians of the net for the modern era. And while we consider some other vets among the Whites causing concern for the faithful, how refreshing was it Thursday to see Damien back with the fire in his belly. He gave the despicable Nunez a real ear-bashing early on before letting his boots do the talking with a super goal and an assist.
Did Martin read my matchday preview, where I exhorted the gaffer to play with some width? It made all the difference. Duff was a changed player from the one I saw in Cracow in game one. I wonder if he was under instructions that night to tuck in and keep an eye on Briggs.
Before we get too carried away, all the astute FFC fans around me at half-time were as one with the shortcomings still holding us back. My regulars have also rightly flagged up what remains wrong with the side. Riise is a liability in both parts of his game. He no longer has the speed or stamina to continually provide the extra man on the overlap up the left. As Clint has no real pace, but a dogged determination to dribble and dart his way through defences, the Deuce will look to check and duck back inside - inevitably into traffic. Sure, one mazy run saw him forced wide but still pull out a sublime chip that kissed the top of the bar. The Texan is many things, and he's been an outstanding servant to Fulham since 2007, but one thing I've yet to see him do is skin the full-back on the outside with pace.
Now, if you factor in both Dembele and AJ playing to a similar style in recent weeks it's easy to see how we've been horribly narrow in games where we've barely carved out an opening. And your blogger may have come up with the reason. It's 'hold the front page exclusive' stuff.
My source with contacts to one of the playing staff (no names offered so I don't know who) reports the technical and tactical coaching being done is the worst in recent memory. Jol does not oversee all aspects of training and it seems some of the players are having to make it up as they go along. Whatever Jol's Dutch vision for Fulham is post Hughes and Hodgson, to date it seems only to have confused the first team. This may explain rumours of bust ups at Motspur and the body language of some when being subbed. Exasperation with the gaffer's methods seems to have unsettled the side.
But are we on the way to working through it? Let's return to the case against Riise. We've flagged up the lack of pace that once made him such an offensive force. Within 15 minutes on Thursday night he was getting a right old shellacking from Murphy for not getting tight to the Wisla forwards. That's the captain's job. When Danny shouts at you, you listen. Riise was the wrong side of his man at times, dived in and was flat on his arse when he should have stayed on his feet, gets beaten to headers by smaller players, and frankly looks ponderous and unfit.
How many more weeks before Jol faces up to his mistake and replaces him? Put Baird out there. Grygera and Hughes can both slip into the back four if needed. Second problem. Etuhu's had two chances from both Wisla games, but has no composure or nous to be playing a pivotal role high up the midfield four. He was obviously at fault for the Poles leveller. As a destroyer shielding Danny and the back four, fine. Just don't ask Dickson to try anything creative with the ball, he has enough trouble just passing to another white shirt.
Back to the plusses. The link up play going forward was so much brighter. AJ, Bobby and Duff are all on the same wavelength. Clint too when he's not in a sulk. Dembele doesn't even know where the dial on his radio is. He should not be brought back into the set-up at present. But one man who should is our marquee signing from the summer Bryan Ruiz. Jol has made a point of telling us all this week that Bryan is a midfielder who can also contribute goals. We might all question why so much money was spent on yet another midfield man in August when what we really needed was a striker (Demba Ba anyone?). However, if that's where Ruiz plays, can we get to see him regularly and how he shakes up the side?
Spurs up next would be a good place for Ruiz to give us 90 minutes. This league fixture brings an altogether different test. While Wisla Cracow showed evidence of their talent in moving the ball, there was still far too much simulation and play-acting from them again Thursday night. I find it entirely disingenuous for their coach to sourly intimate that 'Jol played the Nunez card cleverly in stoking up the pressure.' Wrong my friend! That was entirely self-inflicted thanks to the atrocious lack of sportsmanship from your players in the first game.
Let's hope the derby Sunday is a good old-fashioned ding-dong between two footballing sides who look to entertain and generally play the game in the right spirit. Tottenham are on a strong run and playing some lovely stuff. Will we see the Fulham side who swept Rangers aside and remain the only club thus far to take points off leaders Man City, or will it be a return to the woeful stuff seen at Wigan?
Something tells me no. Spurs beat us here a year ago with a 'goal' that was blatantly offside. They edged the return with a Bale fluke and were hanging on at the end. Four weeks later in the Cup we murdered them 4-0. I'll settle for 2-0, and another home strike from BZ. We owe them.
And to leave you with this thought...Clever free-kick routines? When was the last time we saw anything like that???