ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Fulham
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Posted by Phil Mison on 04/24/2012

A ninth home win of the season came as we called it, the Whites still showing plenty of desire despite the long campaign, yet again putting the jinx on Wigan.

© Press Assoc

In light of recent form the boys did a satisfyingly professional job at the weekend. Martinez side showed their resilience and strong organisation, but could have few complaints at losing. In particular, our defence was sound, with Mark barely having a save of note to make. Wigan's wing play which has served them well over their recent upturn, was entirely nullified, while Fulham went up a gear the second half, and looked far more threatening coming forward. Diarra was immense. As I suggested recently, imagine what he'll be like after a full pre-season with the squad. The Pog marked his return with a neat goal, and was within a whisker of another hat-trick. And even though Frei was only on the field for 10 minutes, again, see how he makes things happen.

My only caveat as the minutes ticked down and my nails took a bashing, how galling it would have been to end with just one goal to show from so much enterprising approach play. When we are playing to the max like this - although Duff perhaps might have given us a bit more - we are almost impossible to stop. I am getting the feeling from the stands this Fulham side are just a fraction away from becoming a team to really fear. Phew! Please post in and tell me I'm getting carried away...

I foresaw us winning by two or three, and had Mason been up to it with the early penalty shout, and had the woodwork - yet again - not twice denied us, Fulham would be breathing right down Liverpool's neck with a similar GD. A top ten finish is surely on the cards now, and who's to say we won't find more points from our last three away games. Yes, call me crazy. We all know Fulham's record at Everton, Liverpool and Spurs. But, come on boys, these teams are there for the taking! My, but we have some old scores to settle at those grounds.

Which result would give you the most satisfaction? Sticking it to old goggle eyes and eradicating memories of both our limp FA Cup exit, and the outrageous good fortune Everton had in stealing victory from us at the death last autumn? (The one side in the EPL where we've never gained so much as a point). Adding to Liverpool's misery and hastening 'King' Kenny's path to the scrapheap? Or silencing Spurs mouthy mob with a masterclass at the Lane. Heavens, but did the Spuds look average at QPR, they can't get out of the mire surely, can they?

Which brings me on to my next topic. Not that it really matters, because England's international stock is low, and unlikely to improve anytime soon. But come on, 'Arry for England? Can't pick a side to embarrass the Ha ha's? With every passing week surely the FA can see Redknapp is not the man for the job. If we want England to regain some international honour and respect there's only one man up to the task. Step forward the acceptable face of football, Roy Hodgson. Folk thought he was good enough for our Olympic team, so give him the top job say I, and not just for nicking three points off the Reds.

But the press boys have made their minds up. Just like refs at Old Trafford who are pre-ordained never to award a penalty to the away side. So the press pack, a bunch of lazy freeloading hyenas in the main, have handed down their Player of the Season award to Robin van Persie. No surprises there - the man's a superhuman goal machine. But Paul Scholes edges Clint down into 4th place on the back of a handful of run outs in the Red shirt? How lamentable is that? It's the Man U factor at work once again, as personified by the useless jerks on Match of the Day. When was the last time you heard any serious assessment of Fulham? The awards are for a season of excellence and consistency. Not a cameo run of starts in a star-studded team at the top of the league. It diminishes any relevance to the awards, a theme I know echoed by all the Cottage Talk guests this week on Russ's radio show. Fulham fans recognise a return of 22 goals - and counting - from midfield for a mid-table team in transition. Shame the hacks are too craven and star-struck for intelligent assessment of Dempsey's value. Keep flying below the radar Clint and extend that contract.

Onto news of another bright star in the camp. Danny has posted requesting news on forgotten kid Danny Hoesen, over in Holland on loan at Fortuna Sittard. I've done some research, and it makes good reading. He's one of the nominations for player of the season. In the last third of the season Dutch coaches voted him the most outstanding player. Venlo asked to sign him, he's on the radar of Twente, Groningen and den Haag, Fortuna fans definitely hope he'll stay for another season. Nice one. Hoesen made it onto the bench this time last year at the end of Hughes time. Will be very interesting to see his development when he comes back.

If Pogrebnyak signs, which I'm certain he will - why else would you move into Mourinho's old flat in London - a good move for Trotta next year will be to test himself in similar fashion with a strong European league. Before I go, I hope our travelling Texan cousins enjoyed Saturday. I made a call to the club press office and Clint was happy to meet them in the player's lounge post match. Not sure if that happened, if so, really hope you guys can post in your experience.
Also, did anyone have money on either Emmerson Boyce or Philippe Senderos to be on the scoresheet? First goal in two years for Boyce, Phillipe's winner was his first since 2008!

Proud to be FULHAM! Twitter@fulhamphil

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Posted by Matthew on 04/25/2012

Wow, Phil. What optimism. You're threatening to alienate the pessimistic sect of your readership. Of which I'm included.

All joking aside, another good win. It's really fun to watch Dempsey and Pogrebnyak play off each other. And I'm downright in love with Kerim Frei's play right now.

Blog Central: We are all enjoying the symbiotic potential of Deuce and the Pog playing off each other. How tragic if one arrives as the other leaves this summer. There's that dose of pessimism for you again!

Posted by 5815dan on 04/25/2012

Saturday is my birthday and all I want is 3 points from Goodison Park. COYW!

Posted by Roy on 04/25/2012

Lets see, Paul Scholes in the league: 3 goals, no assists and 18 shots in the 14games he has played. Now, Clint Dempsey: 16 goals, 6 assists, and 134 shots in the 34 games he has played. Hum...oh well, I guess Clint lost the coin toss.

Posted by Drago on 04/25/2012

I like the optimism, Phil -- and I agree this is the most important summer for Fulham in awhile, in terms of achieving a new level. If Jol can somehow retain Clint, Moussa, Diarra and Pog, we'll be a top 10 side for the next few years...maybe better if Frei and the other young players continue to improve.

Posted by Nick on 04/26/2012

Good's weird with this team because I see flashes of greatness and then flashes that make me want to slam my head on the table!

For some reason I really want a win against Everton with Spurs a close second. For Liverpool and Spurs I come into those matches with little expectation but for Everton I always assume a win is within grasp and we always fall flat. It's our turn to take it to them!

Finally I do I have to say, I hope the Senderos goal doesn't mask the fact that he was just no good that whole match. He cannot read the game for the life of him and oh my god is his passing out of the back abysmal! Let the H&H combo live on and go with either Baird or Kelly on the right. Is Briggs able to play on the right?

Also, what's the status on Dalla Valle...Phil you seemed to sing his praises a lot last season but barely a whisper since then

Blog Central: I don't want to be seen to be Senderos bashing, you can see his desire to do well, but as I tweeted the comms Saturday were highlighting his deficiences in positional play and distribution. When you hear Aaron talking of the 'telepathic' understanding he has with Brede and the hours Woy spent on coaching the back four, you have to question Jol's early season decision to break that up. It cost us points no question. Hard to monitor the progress of the kids, I don't get to see the games at Motspur. Did speak with Kit after a recent game, not sure if Dalla Valle has progressed after his loans, will try to get more info.

Posted by Walker on 04/26/2012

For some reason we've come out of the gates very slowly the past two years. I recall watching our game at Wolves and home against Villa, Blackburn, and Everton early in the season and my God we looked completely lost. But by season's end in each of the past 2 seasons there is no one playing as well as Fulham. I'd bet on us winning the rest of the way, and please by God pound Spurs into the ground. We've had enough pain and disappointment handed to us by those clowns. That wild deflection goal by Bale last year. The FA Cup defeat two years ago. The offside goal that was waved off and then given seconds later. Let's see a repeat of that 4-0 victory at the Cottage in last year's FA Cup victory. What could possibly be sweeter than heading into the summer off a pounding of Spurs at their place? Come on Fulham!

Blog Central: I get the feeling you don't like Spurs?

Posted by Rob on 04/26/2012

Thanks for the good info and honest opinion as always Phil.

I'm curious about your Diarra comment. I thought I remember the match commentary being quite critical of Diarra. They even made it sounds as if DM was getting on him for holding the ball too long. I've always figured Diarra was going to be a bit player if he stayed next season. Do you see him as being a full time player next season? I was thinking more of a half of Diarra and a half of DM.

Let's take advantage of some down teams and get some big points to finish the season. COYWs!!!!

Blog Central: Diarra was most observers MoM. Yes, DM wanted the ball moved quicker and told Diarra in no uncertain terms. He delivered. He also has 5 years on Murph. I think both will feature next season. All at sea v Swansea, Diarra after a long lay off is now integrating beautifully into the set up. He has real quality.

Posted by BillNRoc on 04/26/2012

Would defeating Spurs really feel better than beating King Kenny's sad lot? Spurs are surely in bad form, but everything about L'pool makes me grit my teeth. That sorry little s**t Suarez has ability, but he's a full-out cheat determined to make every tackle appear to cause near-fatal injury. And who can forget his World Cup "performance"? I guess when players wear the same uniform they feel compelled to stand up for each other, but LS is just a nasty piece of work...would love to see him carded for one of his dives, just once...maybe next week?

Always enjoy Phil's posts here, starting to share the positive views expressed today. But so much depends on retaining Deuce, Dembele, Pog, Diarra -- and Murphy, for my dime. COYW!

Posted by Sean Kennedy on 04/30/2012

Happy to report the traveling Texan cousins had a famous visit to the Cottage. We arrived early, stayed late, yelled a bunch, and enjoyed seeing both Fulham goals unfold nearly in our laps. Kudo's to the fans...they made a pile of Texans feel very welcome. And thanks to you too Phil, for your generous offer and efforts. As it turned out, Clint made some time for us later that evening, and we all had a great Texas-sized visit with him. Cheers to all the Fulham fans on a successful season. COYW!

Blog Central: True grit fellahs! Keep comin' back.

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