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The rise of Fulham

  1. New beginning

    Last edited by mask0991; 23/05/2015 at 05:09 AM.
    51Prop51 likes this.

  2. Transfers and Goals:

    My primary goal this season is to gain promotion to the Premier League. I'd like to go as far as possible in the Capital Cup and FA Cup but those will not be my priorities. In a few years, I'd like to challenge for the Premier league title and hopefully, challenge clubs in Europe.

    As for transfers, I am not looking forward to a lot of activity. I may sign 1-2 midfielders and /or a striker depending on the pre-season matches. I won't be making any big money transfers even in the future. I'd like to build the team based on the current crop of players and those coming from the youth system.


  3. Good luck with Fulham but just dont beat Brighton! lol

  4. 2014-15 Pre-Season

    Just finished the pre-season friendlies. Tinkered with 3 different formations and several players. The performances were a bit sloppy to begin with, as indicated by two home losses but once the players started to get used to the formation, the performances improved.

    Some key observations:
    Defense needs some work - sloppy work at times, opponents finding too much space. I might try to get my hands on a good sweeper defender.
    Midfielders and strikers put on decent displays, which was encouraging.
    Based on initial performances, Cauley Woodrow, Bryan Ruiz and Patrick Roberts would be players to watch for.
    The rise of Fulham-new-microsoft-powerpoint-presentation.png
    The first game is an away game vs. Birmingham. Hoping to start with a good performance. The players are all raring to go and the morale of the players is very good.
    Last edited by mask0991; 07/03/2015 at 08:00 PM.

  5. AND THE 2014-15 SEASON IS UNDERWAY!!!
    August 9th 2014
    CH: BIRMINGHAM CITY 1-2 FULHAM
    The rise of Fulham-1.png
    A solid start to the season, although the game was close. Birmingham threw everything they got at us but the defence held strong. Rodallega scored a wonderful goal, which can be viewed below.


    August 15th 2014
    CH:FULHAM 4-1 WIGAN ATHLETIC
    The rise of Fulham-2.png
    Wigan took the lead against the run of play. We had the best chances and hit the woodwork a couple of times before they scored. But we came back in an amazing fashion and responded with a 3 goal salvo in 6 minutes. The victory was well-deserved and it was a very pleasing performance.

    August 19th 2014
    CH: BLACKPOOL 1-2 FULHAM
    The rise of Fulham-3.png
    We were dominating possession and carved open the opposition multiple times gaining a deserved 2-goal lead. Scott Parker's sending off changed the course of the game. Blackpool brought an additional striker and put the pressure on us. We had to weather the storm and they scored a goal to reduce our lead. We brought in an extra defender to avoid conceding again and reverted to a 531 formation. They pressed hard, but never got past out defence.


    August 23rd 2014
    CH: FULHAM 0-1 ROTHERHAM
    The rise of Fulham-4.png
    And the first defeat. We definitely didn't deserve that, not in the slightest. The game was even for the most part and we were the better team for most of the second half. They took their chance while we came up against a rock-solid Rotherham's goalie Adam Collin. His performance was so good that he deserved the player of the match award. I sympathized with the players and we have to move on. A home defeat is always tough to digest.

    Sky Bet Championship: 3rd position with 9 points. Bournemouth occupy 1st position with 10 points.


    Other news:
    1. Rodallega is out for two weeks, which will force a shuffle in the tactics but given the strength of our squad, it shouldn't be a huge blow.
    2. Capital One Cup draws Fulham against Birmingham, with the latter team being drawn as the home team.
    3. Fernando Amorebieta has expressed his desire to leave Fulham for Burnley and he seems determined to make his move soon.
    Last edited by mask0991; 08/03/2015 at 04:51 AM.

  6. Capital One Cup: Woodrow's goal sends Fulham through to 3rd round
    St. Andrews, Birmingham: Woodrow's fourth goal of the season gave Fulham a 1-0 victory over Birmingham. The build-up to the goal started with a swift counter attack as Fulham played the ball out of their defense, and to their flanks. The goal came when young striker Woodrow escaped his marker and side-footed Alexander Kacaniklic's low cross into the net.

    Apart from the goal, the quality of finishing was pretty average from both teams. Birmingham's Davidson missed a golden opportunity as he failed to control his volley. At the other end, Fulham's Kacaniklic sent the ball way wide when he was one-on-one with the goal keeper after a beautiful pass by Hyndman.

    The third round of the Cup drew Fulham against Manchester United, which will be a tough ask for the Cottagers despite them playing in front of their home fans.


    Last edited by mask0991; 08/03/2015 at 03:55 PM.

  7. Fulham have some amazing youngsters on this game, should be fun developing them, good luck.
    mask0991 likes this.

  8. Wrapping up August 2014 and the Transfer Window
    After a good start to the season, it was time for the last match before the end of transfer window. It was an away encounter against Reading. The morale was high and the boys were playing with confidence. We were determined to bring home the 3 points and we did, in style!

    FULHAM 2-0
    READING
    C. Woodrow (26, 47)
    We carved them open multiple times and hit the back of the net on two of those occasions. Woodrow, who has been in sensational form scored two, the first one being a really good one, as he had a very narrow angle to score. The goal can be viewed below. Pleased with the results recently, especially the youngsters who have been putting in some impressive performances.



    TRANSFER WINDOW
    Lots of rumours in the media these days relating the club to a bunch of players, despite there being no interest from out side. It is irritating but as a manager, I can only squash all of them in the media. No additional transfers were made and two youngsters were sent out on loan for more experience.

    Fernando Amorebieta, who has been wanting to move to Burnley has finally told me that he's happy to stay at Fulham. We're all delighted as he has been a regular for us this season and his presence will be a boost to our defense.

    TEAM NEWS
    Tim Hoogland and Ross McCormack have both expressed their concern about not getting enough first team football. I promised both of them more game time in the coming games. I'll have to come up with a way to fit McCormack into this team, especially when Woodrow is in superb form.

  9. Now that I am settled at the club and have a good knowledge about the players and the staff, I wanted to take things to the next level and set the foundation for a title challenge. The upcoming fixtures were vital.

    Sept. 12th 2014: FULHAM 1-0 SHEFF. WED
    Cauley Woodrow (40)
    Solid defensive work laid the foundation for a good win. I went with a 442 formation rather than the 4231 formation which has been producing good results so far. We were dominant in position and never looked like slipping after getting the goal, which came through Cauley Woodrow once again. He is in very good form off late, and his form will be crucial for us in the league.

    Sept. 16th 2014: WOLVES 1-2 FULHAM
    McCormack (20), Woodrow (27); Doyle (60)
    After the success of 442 in the previous game, I decided to go ahead with the same formation and a similar line-up. We started strongly, scoring 2 goals in the first half hour. The first half was played in the mid-field and possession kept changing hands quickly. The second half was totally different! Wolves threw everything at us. They pressed hard and eventually pulled one back in the 60'. Our defense was solid, however. We closed them down quickly forcing them to resort to long range shooting, which really didn't threaten us. More solid defending saw us through and gave us 3 nice away points. Woodrow scored for the fourth game in a row!

    Sept. 20th 2014: FULHAM 1-1 IPSWICH
    McCormack (90+3);
    Berra (59)
    I still can't believe we only got 1 point from this. I reverted back to 4231 this game to exploit the flanks. We totally dominated the game (see Stats below). We had a lot of chances but it was Ipswich who scored first. I really didn't see that coming as they hardly attacked our goal until then. We kept pushing and finally equalized in the last minute of stoppage time, thanks to a 25 yard pile driver by Ross McCormack. It was the least we deserved - we should've won given our dominance but that's football! I could only sympathize with the lads as they gave it all they had.


    LEAGUE STANDINGS
    After 8 games in the league, we occupy the first position with 6 wins, 1 draw and a loss. Pretty pleased with the performance so far but it would be nice to stop leaking goals and keep clean sheets. I can't really fault the defenders because we never gave away goals due to complacency or mistakes in the field.

    C. Woodrow is the joint top scorer in the league. He has scored in 5 games out of the 6 we won and hasn't scored in the games we didn't get the 3 points. He's proving to be a vital player despite being only 19 yrs of age. Well done lad!


  10. Capital One Cup:
    Time for the big clash against Manchester United. This was going to be my first big test and was never going to be easy against a top team. With Rooney, Falcao, Sneijder, Mata, Fellaini in their line-up, we had to produce something magnificent to get a good result. Unfortunately, it wasn't so.

    FULHAM 1-4 MAN UTD
    Kacaniklic (86); Falcao (58,72,82), Mata (75)
    We were good in the first half as United attackers didn't find a lot of space in our half. But our second half performance was rather lackluster. Lots of sloppy passes resulted due to extreme pressing by the Man Utd midfielders. They dominated in the midfield and scored 4 goals, with Falcao grabbing a well deserved hat-trick. Kacaniklic's goal came as a consolation but it was all but over by then.
    Even though the performance could've been better especially in the second half, I didn't criticize the players. We were always the underdogs and the Red Devils are tough to beat.

  11. Very nice start mate, being able to watch some of the goals is interesting!

  12. Quote Originally Posted by xJamieWilliams View Post
    Very nice start mate, being able to watch some of the goals is interesting!
    Cheers! Glad to know that you find the embedded goal videos interesting. I'll upload goals that I find interesting or important.

  13. SOMETHING DOESN'T SEEM RIGHT!

    The day started just like any other as I drove myself to the training ground while sipping on a glass of hot tea. As soon as I entered the dressing room, I felt something strange. The intensity in training was missing and the morale didn't seem high. I felt the need to have a chat with the boys. I asked Scott (Parker) to assemble the team to discuss the situation. The loss to Man Utd hurt the lads despite being the underdogs.

    Me: Come on guys! We've done well so far despite the loss to United. We are at the top of the league now. Let's keep that up.
    McCormack (reluctantly): While that's true boss, the loss to United was tough to digest.
    Parker joined in, as the senior member and the captain.
    Parker: It's all right boys. United are a strong team to beat, considering the kind of players they have. We have a league title to challenge for, and a promotion to aim. Let's focus on that.
    Rodallega: I agree with Scotty. We have the right kind of players to make it happen. If that's all boss, we're going to get back out there (training ground) and give it our best.

    After a few private chat between some players, there were positive nods in response to Parker and Rodallega's comments.
    Younger players like Patrick Roberts and Woodrow were pleased to know that the skipper and I had our faith in this team. They returned back to training.

    Me: Now, that's the reaction I wanted. Glad to know we are on the same page. Let's convert that good feeling into productive training sessions.

    As the players were leaving, I called Woodrow to have a private chat in my office.

    Woodrow (slowly approaching me): What's on your mind, boss?
    Me: Just wanted to say you have been outstanding so far, netting goals in all of our wins. I have faith in you, Cauley. You are a bright talent, one of the best I've come across.
    Woodrow (excited): Thanks, boss. That's a lot coming from you. I am pleased to have started every game and will repay your faith in me with goals.
    Me: Now, get out there and have fun!

    The players morale definitely increased and I was able to see a lot more smiles and intensive training from the boys. It's time to get back to winning ways vs. Blackburn in the championship.

  14. After the loss to Man Utd, it's time to get back to winning ways....On with the championship fixtures:

    CH: BLACKBURN 0-2 FULHAM
    Woodrow (51), Rodallega (59)
    Solid victory. We dominated possession and passed around well. After taking the lead, Blackburn attacked and pressed hard. The defense was strong and put in some amazing tackles to prevent Blackburn from scoring. One of the many tackles impressed me (see below). There were a couple of similar chances where the defenders put in last ditch tackles to pile on the frustration for Blackburn. 3 points in an away game secured!


    CH: FULHAM 2-1 MILLWALL
    Ruiz (80), Woodrow (88); Upson (25)
    Almost a scare. Ed Upson's early goal gave Millwall the lead and they really held on to the ball. The players were getting frustrated and it resulted in a lot of long shots, which never threatened the opposition goal. We finally equalized when Ruiz volleyed a cross from Hoogland. The game was heading towards a draw until the moment when Woodrow latched onto a Christensen's through ball and attempted a first time shot, which ended up in the back of the net. It was fitting that Woodrow scored the winner as he has been on scintillating form this season.

    MANAGER OF THE MONTH (SEPTEMBER)
    My first personal award. We got 3 wins and managed a draw in the four games during the month. We also occupy the first position in the league, which is pleasing. I am delighted to get my very first personal award, and will be looking forward to adding more.

    Last edited by mask0991; 10/03/2015 at 06:06 AM.

  15. CH: BRENTFORD 0-1 FULHAM
    Woodrow (30)

    That news article sums up the game pretty well. Bettinelli was the hero, deservedly grabbing the player of the match. I could make a montage of the saves he made that game but I decided to pick the best of the lot for your viewing pleasure.
    What a save!

    WOODROW ON FIRE!
    This 19 yr lad is the joint top scorer in the league with 10 goals. He has scored in 8 of our 9 wins and has been working hard in the training, showing good signs. Another interesting thing to note is that everytime he has scored, we won the game so far - quite an interesting statistic!

    LEAGUE TABLE
    A look at the league table after 11 games. We sit at the top, 5 points ahead of the second placed Watford. Some big games coming up, but I am sure we'll be prepared!


  16. Fulham's Injury Woes:
    Ross McCormack and Hugo Rodallega got injured during training and are out for 3 weeks. That means 2 of my 3 strikers are unavailable for the next 5-6 games, which is really unfortunate. The next few games will be vital.


    October 18th 2014 CH: FULHAM 1-2 HUDDERSFIELD
    Woodrow (55); Bunn (20), Wells (68)
    Disappointing, to say the least. Also this is the first game we lost when Woodrow scored. The performance was sub-par, to say the least. Neither team deserved to lose but they got the 3 points and we ended up with none. Rodallega and McCormack's absence was hugely felt as we launched an all-out attack during the ending stages of the game. A second home defeat, something I need to rectify.

    October 21st 2014 CH: CARDIFF 3-0 FULHAM
    Bettinelli (o.g.,71), Revell (74), Noone (85)
    We lost the game when Scott Parker got sent off in the 51st minute, for a second yellow card. I started with Woodrow and Dembele and had to bring off Dembele when Parker got sent off. I was going for a draw at that point but once Cardiff scored, things changed. They added a couple more as we tried to equalize and gave us a pasting. Once again, the absence of two strikers prevented me from going into 'true' overload mode.

    My thoughts:
    Things need to turn around, and quickly. We are still at the top of the league but only one point separates us from Watford, who are second. I did issue Parker a stern warning for getting sent off, which changed the game significantly. As a senior player and captain, he ought to know better than to perform a reckless tackle in the opposition half, while already on a yellow card.

    The next game is versus Derby, who are in the top 4 at the moment. Another slip-up could see us lose the top spot in the league, and we must get back to winning ways!

    Last edited by mask0991; 10/03/2015 at 03:42 PM.

  17. To all of you reading/following this thread:

    Could you make any suggestions to improve the content? Is there something lacking, or is it fine?

  18. (Oct 24th 2014) CH: FULHAM 2-0 DERBY
    Ruiz (61), Dembele (73)
    A much needed victory, after two losses. With McCormack and Rodallega still sidelined due to injury, Dembele got his second league start this season. The game was evenly matched till Ruiz scored, after which we took control of possession and dominated the game. Dembele's goal gave us nice cushion. The fact that we won against Derby who are competing for a promotion spot is pleasing.

    NEWS: Ross McCormack back to training.
    The Fulham striker, who was injured for 3 weeks is back from injury and resumed light training. He should be back to match fitness soon, after a couple of reserve games.

    (Nov 1st 2014) CH: BOURNEMOUTH 3-1 FULHAM
    Kermorgant (10, 90+2 pen), McQuoid (80); Woodrow (4)
    Disappointing performance, devastating result. We took the lead very early through our goal scoring machine Woodrow. Once they equalized 10' into the game, things started to turn. Our players slowly started to lose focus, kept misplacing passes and missing interceptions. Bournemouth deservedly took the lead in the 80th minute. They scored a third to pile on the misery when Hoogland gave away a penalty. Replays show that McQuoid took a dive. But it was a game we didn't deserve to get any points from, and I'm not going to complain.

    NEWS: Hugo Rodallega back to training.
    Another injury victim for Fulham is back to full fitness and is ready for selection. This should be a boost for us, as all out strikers are fully fit.

    Last edited by mask0991; 11/03/2015 at 05:11 AM.

  19. TEAM MEETING
    Recent results haven't been going our way and I decided to have a chat with the team. The day before the next game (vs. Leeds), I told Peter Grant to assemble all the players before they began training.

    Me: Alright lads. We have been letting ourselves down recently. We may have lost 3 our of our last 4 games but we all know that we are a much better team than that.
    Ruiz: He's right fellas, we are much better than the results show.
    Me: We had some injury issues too which weakened our bench strength a bit. We should come back strong.
    Kacaniklic (reluctantly): Boss, do you have a tactic in mind for tomorrow? Should we focus on tactical training today.
    Dan Burn and Kay Voser hinted that they were curious of the formation as well.
    Me (without hesitation): Yes, I do guys. Mark (Pembridge) knows the tactics for tomorrow and he'll help you guys. That'll be all. I just wanted to encourage you guys and tell that we will get back to winning ways!

    I saw Huw Jennings (Youth coach) approach me after the team dispersed.
    Huw: So, with Hugo and Ross injured, Cauley had to single handedly shoulder the responsibility of the center forward. He's still young and not ready for such a huge responsibility. He seems pressurized and not fully fit due to the intensity of such a play. You might want to consider signing another striker.
    Me: I've been thinking about that but never really made it a priority. Now that you bring up mental and physical concerns, I'll look into it. Thanks, Huw!

  20. (Nov 5th 2014) CH: FULHAM 1-0 LEEDS
    Burn (17)
    And back to winning ways. A solid victory and a much needed one. I was never really concerned about giving away an equalizer as the defense was rock solid whenever called upon. Burn's goal came from a corner when he put a bullet header past Silvestri. Ruiz's corner was flicked on by Woodrow at the near post and Burn was waiting at the far post to bury it.

    The victory was spoiled by the bad news that McCormack is going to be out for another 3 weeks after getting harshly tackled by Liam Cooper. It made me furious and I spoke my mind to the press. They wasted no time in putting it in the headlines.


    Unlucky McCormack: Out for 3 weeks, plays one game and out for 3 weeks again.

    A quick look at the league table with home and away statistics.



    Woodrow still tops the goal scorers chart.

    Last edited by mask0991; 11/03/2015 at 05:30 AM.

  21. (Nov 8th 2014) NOTTM FOREST 2-3 FULHAM
    Paterson (41, 47); Williams (8), Roberts (48), Woodrow (58)
    Wow. What a thriller. The intensity of both teams was high through out the game. We took an early lead, only to see go behind soon after the second half start. It only took us a minute to equalize and went ahead deservedly through Woodrow. It was pleasing to see U21 players performing very well and exceeding expectations. The first game in the season that had me biting my nails in nervousness as Nottm Forest threw everything at us in the closing moments of the game.

    (Nov 22nd 2014) WATFORD 3-1 FULHAM
    Iglaho (11), Deeney (70, 85); Roberts (81)
    This was a game I wanted to win. Watford were second in the table, 4 points behind us and we could have given ourselves a nice cushion at the top with a victory. Even a draw would've been good but instead we lost. Stats suggest that the game was close but they took their chances while we wasted a lot of them. Some of the passing was atrocious, especially from our defenders and midfielders as a lot of their long balls were easily intercepted. Roberts gave us a glimmer of hope with a powerful shot but Watford regained their 2-goal lead immediately afterwards. Our lead at the top is now cut to 1 point!


    (Nov 29th 2014) FULHAM 2-1 MIDDLESBROUGH
    Woodrow(1, 18); Vossen (81)
    Good, solid victory. Woodrow got us to a flying start with a goal after just 43 seconds! We dominated and got the second goal before 20 minutes. The game was ours to lose after our first half display. Not sure if complacency set in at half time but we were terrible for majority of the second half. Several loose passes, lazy crosses and the defense was only half-awake for a good portion of the half. They took the lead in the 81st minute, thanks to a 25 yard piledriver from Vossen. A stern touch line talk made the players focus better for the last 10 minutes. Nevertheless, 3 points!

  22. LEAGUE TABLE & STATS (as of Dec 1st 2014)
    We are at the top, but only 1 point ahead of Watford. Cardiff are not too far off either. Derby and Norwich are also in contention for a promotion.
    Cauley Woodrow has scored 15 goals in the league so far and is the leading scorer with 4 more than the next best. He is in red hot form this season.


    INJURY UPDATE
    Last couple of months has seen our side suffer a bunch of injuries. McCormack, Rodallega and Voser were all sidelined for more than 2 weeks. We still have a few players out injured but only Amorebieta's situation is a bit of a concern. He has been solid in defence, forming a good partnership with Dan Burn. Hutchinson covered for him in the last 2 games, but his minor injury means 2 out of my 4 first team central defenders are unavailable for the crucial match vs. Norwich.

  23. (Dec 5th 2014) NORWICH 1-3 FULHAM
    Grabban (24); Woodrow (16, 82), Parker (75)
    Sweet victory! Beating Norwich away is a great result as both teams are in the race for a promotion. Woodrow grabbed 2 goals taking his goal tally for the season to 18. The highlight of the game was skipper Parker's left footed volley which almost pierced the net. The team looked very cohesive, which was really pleasing to see.

    Scott Parker's goal:

    (Dec 13th 2014) FULHAM 3-0 BOLTON
    Rodallega (35), Woodrow (41), McCormack (56)
    Bolton's recent form has been terrible as they haven't had a win in 8 games. So, I decided to go with an aggressive attacking 433 tactic. I started all my three strikers and each of them grabbed a goal, justifying their selection. The interplay between the strikers was really nice. Woodrow got on the scoring sheet once again, courtesy of a thunderous shot into the top corner.

    Cauley Woodrow's goal:

    We retain the top position, but Watford are still only one point behind!

  24. (Dec 20th 2014) BRIGHTON 1-1 FULHAM
    LuaLua (58); Roberts (4)
    Hmm. A drab game, to say the least as there were extended periods when the game was bogged down in midfield. Scott Parker, a defensive midfielder got the player of the match award, which suggests the nature of the game. The less said the better.

    (Dec 26th 2014) CHARLTON 0-3 FULHAM
    Roberts (1), Parker (21), Woodrow (26)
    Sweet victory. The victory was all but sealed within the first half hour. We had close to 70% possession and were absolutely dominating. Then, Scott Parker got sent off for the third time this season, for a second bookable offense. Charlton started to see more of the ball after the incident but it didn't affect the scoreline as the defense held tight to claim a clean sheet.

    (Dec 28th 2014) FULHAM 2-1 BRIGHTON
    McCormack (13), Burn (54); Mackail-Smith (52)
    Solid performance and a deserved victory. McCormack gave us the lead with a beautiful 20 yard freekick that hit the top corner of the net. Mackail-Smith got Brighton an equalizer but vice-captain Dan Burn restored our lead only 2 mins later. Our midfield once again dominated as Hyndman made several defense splitting passes carving open the opposition defense. A good 3 points, after Brighton held us for a draw in our away fixture.
    McCormack's goal is a really nice one to watch.

  25. 2014-15 MID-SEASON UPDATE

    LEAGUE TABLE:
    We are still in contention for promotion to the premiership. However, we lost the top spot to Watford, who are in brilliant form at the moment. Watford have won their last 9 games and beat us to the top after we slipped up against Brighton in the away fixture. But the gap is only one point and I am not too worried about that.

    WOODROW IS THE CREAM OF THE CROP:
    Cauley Woodrow has scored 19 goals in the championship so far, and is the top scorer. He is 5 ahead of Britt Assombalonga, who has 14 goals to his name.


    TRANSFERS:
    I am not planning on any big transfers now. Moussa Dembele, the U21 striker might be leaving as he wants to play European football and we are a few seasons away from that.
    Kostas Stafylidis, who was on loan from Leverkusen impressed me with his performances. I made an offer to Leverkusen for $2.1M, which they accepted and now, Stafylidis is a full-time Fulham player.
    Fans are pleased with the decision and the deal was reported by the media as a 'steal', which is nice for the club's finances.



    kolas79 likes this.

  26. FA CUP THIRD ROUND:
    (Janurary 3rd 2015) FA: BLACKPOOL 0-1 FULHAM
    Woodrow (12)
    This was a.....unique game. Both teams played the first half with a lot of intensity, constantly pushing forward. Come second half, both teams looked bored and were happy to knock the ball in their own half. I did tell the lads to keep enjoying their football in the second half but I never understood Blackpool's tactic. They were trying to hit us on the counter attack but I told my back four to stay back and in shape to nullify a potential counter. I was surprised that they didn't have another tactic.

    May be I won the tactical battle against Blackpool manager Lee Clark. May be.

    Other News: No surprised in the third round of the FA Cup. All the big teams - Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool went through will relative ease.

    FA Cup Fourth Round Draw: We got a bit lucky with the draw. We have to battle it out vs. Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage for a fifth round spot. It's not going to be easy but a home draw is always favourable.




  27. (Jan 10th 2015) CH: FULHAM 4-2 BIRMINGHAM
    McCormack (27, 41), Kacaniklic (50), Woodrow (77); Grounds (13), Donaldson (58)
    Goals galore. The lads certainly wanted it more than their opposition as evidenced by thrice the number of shots attempted and shots on target. McCormack was the star of the game, as he hit TWO 25 yard free kicks that whistled into the net. Kacaniklic also scored a left footed volley but McCormack's goals were the highlight of the game.
    Here are the two free kicks - McCormack, you beauty!


    (Jan 10th 2015) CH: WIGAN 1-2 FULHAM
    Holt (pen 43); Williams (60), Burn (74)
    Conceding the penalty right before half-time was so annoying. Holt slotted it coolly, which forced me to give the boys a hair-dryer treatment at half time. It certainly sparked something in the players and they put a much better display after half-time. Williams side-footed a low pass from McCormack and Burn gave us the lead from a looping header off Ruiz's corner that deceived the keeper before crossing the line.

    LEAGUE TABLE:
    Meanwhile, Watford lost their first championship game after 10 consecutive victories. And our victory against Wigan took us back to the top of the table, ahead of Watford by 2 points and Cardiff (3rd) by 7 points.

  28. (Jan 21st 2015) CH: FULHAM 3-0 BLACKPOOL
    McCormack (16, 45+2); Woodrow (35)
    Three first half goals sealed the deal for us. Woodrow was absolutely wonderful as he scored one and set-up two goals for McCormack. He proved to be a real thorn in Blackpool's defense. Blackpool defender McMahon couldn't keep up with Woodrow's movement and rushed into tackles multiple times, resulting in an early bath after two bookings. Woodrow scored his 21st league goal that game!

    TRANSFER NEWS: Eder Alvarez Balanta joins Fulham for a record fee of $20M. Here's an excerpt of the press conference where Balanta was unveiled.
    The rise of Fulham-eder-alvarez-balanta-river-plate.jpg

    Q: "Several people have suggested that this was a bit of a steal, while others have criticized your big spending on a player who has never been in Europe. What are your thoughts?"
    Me: It's a good deal. Balanta is a good player and he'd be a great addition to our side as we make the push for promotion.

    Q: "Several non-English speakers have struggled in England. Does it affect Balanta's settling in?"
    Me: I can give examples of non-English speakers work their magic in the English football scene. Language is no barrier. Further, I can manage Spanish and we have Ruiz and Rodallega who are native Spanish speakers. No issues there.

    Q: "You speak Spanish?"
    Me: (annoyed)Little bit, yes. Now, let's move on to more important questions, if you have any.

    Q: "Will we be seeing Balanta in action soon? How does it affect the chances for other central defenders?"
    Me: Well, you'll see soon enough.

    After that, I left the press conference. I stayed a bit aggressive and vague during the session as I didn't want to put pressure on any of my defenders and don't want to give them to get any wrong ideas regarding selection.
    Last edited by mask0991; 13/03/2015 at 02:16 PM.

  29. Attachment 791860
    (Jan 25th 2015) FA 4th Round
    FULHAM 3-1 MIDDLESBROUGH
    Konstantopoulos (o.g. 69), Woodrow (75), Dembele (89); Williams ( 6)
    A dominating performance by the boys. Despite being the better team, they got the first goal from their very first offensive build-up. I am surprised that it took us over an hour to equalize. We completely dominated possession and we kept pushing them back. But with the fans supporting us, we got the equalizer through an own goal by Dimitris Konstantopoulos. It was just what we deserved. We continued pressing and scored two more through the strikers - Woodrow and Dembele.

    Dembele's goal was a special one as he placed the shot from the edge of the box into the top corner, looping over the helpless Middlesbrough keeper. It was a goal of pure class!


    FA Cup Other news: Manchester United saw the end of their FA Cup journey as they were knocked out by bitter rivals Manchester City in the fourth round after a 1-2 loss. Elsewhere, Chelsea and Arsenal went through to the fifth round after convincing victories. Liverpool could only manage a draw against Hull, and will have to replay the tie to determine who progresses through.

    FA Cup Fifth Round Draw: We have been handed a home draw against Sunderland. It's not going to be easy against a premiership side but the home draw gives us a good chance. Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City were handed relatively easy draws against Brentford, Wolves and Walsall, respectively.
    Last edited by mask0991; 13/03/2015 at 02:53 PM.

  30. We need to talk, Mr. Khan

    And no it's not about breaking up the relationship with the club. It's about the club and some improvements. After a few phone calls from my end, Mr. Shahid Khan agreed to visit the training ground and talk to me regarding my suggestions.

    He came into my office with a hint of doubt as to what I had in mind. He congratulated me on the team's top position in the league table.

    I reassured him that I'll guide the team through to the promotion, which was something we agreed upon at the start of my managerial career. I wanted to speak to him about a couple of changes at the club and wasn't exactly sure how to start that conversation.

    "Mr. Khan", I said, "you must have been seen some of our recent games. The lads are putting in some impressive performances and their training has been top-notch".

    Now, this fellow is as smart as they come. He picked up on my hint and responded, "Indeed, Mr. T (that's what he and a few others called me). I guess you want to talk about the facilities?"

    Well, I was shocked that he picked up on my hint, but tried my best to hide it on my face. He gave a wry smile, as he figured out what was going on. "Yes, I do", I replied before he could say anything else to embarrass me.

    "While we have good facilities here, it would be great if some of them are improved. We have a lot of young lads coming at the club and we need to provide them with the best possible equipment and expand our boundaries to make them into world class players." He almost instantly agreed, scratching his thick mustache.

    "Alright, that went well", I thought to myself as the conversation was heading in the direction I had hoped for. We then talked for a good 30 minutes about potential improvements and investments, in the presence of some of our coaching staff. After that fruitful discussion, he was about to end the meeting when I interrupted.

    A few days ago, I put in a request to increase the maximum allowed coaching staff. But the board didn't respond, and I wanted to talk with the bossman personally. "The coaching staff request, do you want to talk about it?", I reluctantly asked. "I already approved that, didn't you get it?", he said, in a puzzled manner. Ah, the delays involved in processing.

    "No, I didn't receive it yet. Thanks for approving it. It'll help our training.", I responded in a positive tone. "Of course. The club is doing well under your management and I'd like to help you with it. But do keep an eye on the finances.", he cautioned me. "Balanta's transfer was not a cheap affair. I know you're handling the finances well but as the chairman, I would just like to reiterate", he added.

    Well, he's entitled to say so, after all he's only looking after the club. I nodded in agreement and then he left for another meeting, elsewhere.

    Alright, I should probably be more confident when I speak to this fellow. He seems friendly and there's absolutely no reason for me to feel nervous.

    I went back to the training room, looked at the staff and gave them a thumbs up, suggesting that the meeting was fruitful.


    STAFF ADDITION:
    I didn't waste any time in approaching Ulf Kirsten and Richard Naylor to join us as members of the coaching staff. Mr. Kirsten accepted our offer and we are still waiting for an official approval from Mr. Naylor.

    Things are moving along well..they are indeed!

  31. With Watford only one point behind us in the league table, it is vital that we continue our winning form. The training has been very good and the morale in the dressing room has been rather good.

    (Feb 7th 2015) CH: ROTHERHAM 2-3 FULHAM
    Sammon (72), Welsh (80); Pringle (o.g. 8), Woodrow (49, 75)
    Revenge! Rotherham got the better of us at Craven Cottage early in the season, handing us our first defeat. We got one over them in the return fixture. Woodrow once again impressed by scoring two goals. I am a bit worried about the defense, as both the goals conceded could have been avoided with a slightly better positioning. We need to work on the defense during our training in the next few days.

    (Feb 10th 2015) CH: FULHAM 0-2 READING
    Cox (18, 34)
    We didn't lose to Reading, we lost to a striker by the name Simon Cox. Reading only had 2 shots on target and both those turned out to be goals. It wasn't particularly bad defending from our side, but Cox was just too good! We could and should have scored atleast one but the finishing left a lot to be desired. Woodrow missed a sitter, which was shocking because he has been in red hot form recently. Guess he lacks a bit of composure - after all, he's just 20.


    DUE TO THAT LOSS, WATFORD REPLACED US AT THE TOP OF THE LEAGUE TABLE.

    (Feb 10th 2015) CH: SHEFF WED 0-1 FULHAM
    Amorebieta (57)
    A much needed victory. It was a see-saw game with the dominance switching between the teams very frequently. The goal came from a corner, from the head of central defender Amorebieta, who is just back from injury. The lads held their nerve after scoring and ensured that we got all 3 points from the game.

    READING, WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR SLIP TO 2ND PLACE DEFEATED WATFORD THIS WEEK. WE ARE BACK AT THE TOP OF THE LEAGUE, ONE POINT AHEAD OF WATFORD. THANK YOU READING!!


    INJURY WOES:
    Argh! Scott Parker, a key man in our midfield got injured during the Sheff. Wed game and is sidelined for 4 weeks! A huge blow to us as we are approaching the end of the season, while challenging for the league title.

    To make things worse, Elsad Zverotic, who was my choice to replace Parker in the midfield also got injured during training. He too, is out for 3-4 weeks. I'm not gonna lie, this makes things really dicey for me. Selection is not going to be easy in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to Christensen to take care of the defensive midfield duties, something he's not the best at. Since all my tactics rely on a solid defensive midfielder, I might have to push one of my defenders to cover for Scotty and Elsad.
    Last edited by mask0991; 13/03/2015 at 09:35 PM.

  32. The rise of Fulham-fa-cup.png
    February 15th 2015 - FA Cup Fifth Round
    FULHAM 2-1 SUNDERLAND
    McCormack (45+3), Woodrow (pen 68); Alvarez (66)

    Fantastic win. This was a real test for us as we had to beat a Premiership side to progress through in the FA Cup. McCormack gave us the lead just before half-time as he headed a beautiful cross from Patrick Roberts. The cross was a perfect one as McCormack only had to make meaningful contact with the ball for it to hit the back of the net. Ricky Alvarez, who gave our defense some trouble through out the game equalized for Sunderland as he calmly finished a good Sunderland move by side-footing it into the bottom corner.
    We kept pushing forward and came close thrice. The goal, however came from the penalty spot when Bryan Ruiz was brought down inside the area by Sunderland defense. The referee gave the penalty immediately, which Woodrow coolly slotted home. We held onto our lead and progressed through!

    McCormack was absolutely brilliant for us as he kept causing all sorts of issues for the Sunderland defense.
    The rise of Fulham-leeds-v-brighton-ross-mccormack-celeb_2982173.jpg

    FA Cup Sixth Round: We were drawn against Manchester City at home for the sixth round. This is not going to be easy. Manchester City are a very good side and would be hard to beat. Despite the odds being stacked against us, we are going to try our best and give it all we got.


  33. (Feb 18th 2015) CH: FULHAM 2-1 WOLVES
    McCormack (56), Roberts (85); Dicko (45+1)
    A good comeback. The goal conceded just before half-time was disappointing as the players were caught napping by the Wolves midfield as they played Dicko in with a simple pass. We did comeback with goals from McCormack and Roberts. Roberts' goal was a special one as he dribbled past 2 players before placing a shot in the top corner with aplomb. It has to be in the contention for goal of the month!

    Patrick Roberts' sensational goal:


    (Feb 18th 2015) CH: IPSWICH 1-2 FULHAM
    McGoldrick (53); Woodrow (6 ), Christensen (11)
    This proved to be a crucial win for us as Watford were beaten by Wolves giving us some breathing space at the top of the league table. We took 2-0 lead very early into the game and were doing a good job with the ball. Things got a bit nervous after they pulled one back through McGoldrick but we kept calm and came away with 3 crucial points. Christensen put in a gem of a performance this game, pulling all strings from the midfield, something I haven't seen much from him.

    (Feb 25th 2015) CH: FULHAM 1-3 BLACKBURN
    Kacaniklic (62); Rhodes (18, pen 72), Taylor (40)
    Goddammit! Another home defeat. This was a pasting to be honest. Blackburn really put us in our place and hope the boys learnt something from the game. We were hurried by Blackburn into making several mistakes. This is not a game I would want to look back on. With us threatening to equalize, Chris Taylor produced a 25 yard strike to give them the lead. It was a fantastic goal. Kacaniklic's goal gave us a glimmer of hope but Stafylidis, who has been fantastic this season made a rash tackle inside our penalty area resulting in a penalty. Rhodes put away the penalty with composure and made sure we suffered our 4th home defeat.

    Blackburn's Taylor scores a beauty:


    Goal of the month:
    Patrick Roberts won the championship goal of the month after that wonderful strike vs. Wolves. Chris Taylor's 25 yard screamer against us was the second in the goal of the month for February 2015.
    Last edited by mask0991; 13/03/2015 at 11:46 PM.

  34. I was devastated by the home loss to Blackburn. I was going through the highlights to spot any mistakes by the players, and there were plenty of them. While I was going through the video footage, Mark Pembridge comes to me and says, "Hey T, did you know that our defeat to Blackburn was only their second win in last 7 games." That irked me a lot as it was a golden chance squandered by the lads.

    I had to let the lads know my disappointment. Woodrow, Stafylidis and Voser were summoned to my office. I expressed my disappointment and even lashed out at Kostas (Stafylidis) for his mistake that led to the penalty. All three of them were disappointed, but they knew that they all made mistakes that cost us the match.

    Woodrow stayed after the meeting and wanted to discuss some issues with me. "I have been the top scorer in the league. I felt that the warning was harsh", said Woodrow in a reluctant fashion.

    "I know Woody, I know that you're the top scorer. But be frank - are you happy with your performance in that game. You had 3 clear chances and you squandered all of them. I hold you to very high standards, standards you are capable of and your performance fell short of it - that's all", I said in a reassuring tone.

    He knew I had a point. "Look, I don't want to offend you or discourage you. I haven't seen a lot of players with your kind of talent at such a young age. You have the potential to be an absolute gem of a player. You need to start showing more composure - something you can definitely improve upon", I told him assertively. "Nothing has changed", I added, "you're still my first choice striker in this team. You can do better - you and I both know it. Now use this as a learning experience and try to do better."

    He seemed to understand the high standards of professional football and particularly the standards I hold him to. He left the room, seeming to be deep in thought. This lad has a bright future provided he doesn't switch off during games, like he did during the last one.
    BlindSide likes this.

  35. Our next game was an away one, against Millwall. Millwall have been doing exceedingly well this season, as they are 8th in the league, well above media predictions. I knew a victory was possible. I told the boys to forget about the loss in the previous game and encouraged them to put their best effort in.

    (Feb 28th 2015) CH: MILLWALL 1-2 FULHAM
    Maierhofer (39); Ruiz (7), McCormack (75)
    And the lads delivered. All the words of encouragement, especially at half time when the score was level worked. They produced one of the finest displays in the recent past in the second half grabbing the winner. They never looked like giving up their lead. First half was a bit patchy but the second half was masterful. Woodrow and Stafylidis put in much better performances after the last game, where their display was sub-par. Another away victory for us. We now have the best away record in the league!

    LEAGUE TABLE
    After a string of impressive performances, both Watford and our team have had wobbly results recently. Blackburn held Watford to a 1-1 draw as we scored a 2-1 victory over Millwall. We now occupy the 1st position in the championship table, 3 points ahead of Watford.
    Cauley Woodrow still leads the goalscorer chart. He has a fantastic average rating and has received the most number of player of the match awards this year.

  36. INJURY UPDATE

    After being out for extended periods of time, Elsad Zverotic seems to be returning back to full fitness. Scott Parker, who has been crucial in the midfield this season is still a week away from returning to training. I hope he gets back to full fitness soon. Rodallega is still a few weeks away from getting back to full fitness.


  37. The end of the 2014-15 season is approaching and we're at the top of the table. We need to keep our good form going.

    (Mar 4th 2015) CH: FULHAM 1-0 BRENTFORD
    Roberts (9)
    Solid rearguard display. We scored early, courtesy of Patrick Roberts and held on to the lead impressively. Brentford came close on a few occasions but they never threatened to equalize. I tried playing Balanta in the midfield as the ball winner to cover for Scott Parker. It turned out to be a good move as he rarely let balls go past him. The fans were were supportive of the team's display and acted as the team's 12th man.


  38. FA CUP SIXTH ROUND
    MANCHESTER CITY VS. FULHAM
    Pre Match: This is a huge clash for us. We already faced one of the Manchester sides early on in the season when we Man Utd beat us 4-1 in the League Cup. A few hours before the game, I asked the lads to assemble in the dressing room to discuss match tactics. I told them that there is absolutely no pressure on them and that they can go out and play their hearts out, for the fans.

    We have been working on a different tactic for this game - a Mourinho-esque tactic. The formation can be seen below. The idea was to absolutely stop City from creating chances and hit them on the counter through our wingers. Balanta, playing the Anchor Man is very crucial as he has the big job of halting all City attacks.

    Final Score:
    FULHAM 2-0 MANCHESTER CITY
    Sagna (o.g. 58), McCormack (62)
    I am on cloud nine, and so are the players. The tactic worked like a charm. Man City dominated possession and committed a lot of players into attack. We hit them on the counter and scored both our goals via counter attack. Sagna's own goal gave us the lead. A good interplay between McCormack and Woodrow set Patrick Roberts free through the right flank and his cross found its way into the back of the net after a deflection off Sagna. City kept bombarding forward but we held tight. Balanta made several crucial tackles in the midfield. One such tackle stopped the City attack prematurely and Hyndman, who took control of the ball played a beautiful long ball to Woodrow, who headed it for McCormack to blast home the goal. We kept the mighty Man City at bay for the remaining 27 minutes and progressed through to the semi-finals!!!

    We now face West Ham at home, for the semi finals.

  39. It's only been two days since the Manchester City clash and we have to travel to Huddersfield to face them. A lot of tired legs in the team, and I had to make a lot of changes for this game. I didn't want to risk the tired players when the title race is heating up. Our next game is against Cardiff, who are presently 4th in the table and I need my first team players to be fully fit for that game.

    (Mar 10th 2015) CH: HUDDERSFIELD 0-0 FULHAM
    A drab game. The result was not far from what I expected. We were without a lot of our playmakers in the midfield and we didn't create a lot of chances. A win would've been nice but I am quite content with the one point we got. Our lead at the top is cut down to 1 point but we're still at the top, for now.

    NEWS: Scott Parker, the Fulham captain is back from injury. Scott Parker has missed the last 8 Fulham games. His return would be a huge boost to the team.

    (Mar 14th 2015) CH: FULHAM 2-1 CARDIFF
    Parker (11), Woodrow (62); Macheda (69)
    A huge victory. Cardiff are 4th in the league and this was always going to be a tough game. But we played like champions. Dominating in possession, we created multiple chances and took the lead through skipper Scott Parker, who is playing his first game after a 2 month absence. Woodrow doubled our lead as we hit Cardiff on the counter. Macheda pulled one back for Cardiff in the 69th minute but it wasn't enough to deny us the well deserved 3 points. A big victory against a good team!


    LEAGUE TABLE
    Still at the top, with a one point lead over Watford. We are 13 points clear off 3rd placed Derby. With 9 games left to play, it looks like a two horse race between Watford and us. And it's going all the way down to the wire!

  40. (Mar 17th 2015) CH: DERBY 1-0 FULHAM
    Hendrick (80)
    We didn't deserve to lose. We deserved atleast a draw. The players started to look frustrated after conceding the goal and Balanta got a red card amidst the chaos. Derby are a good side and have been doing well this season and this win would do them a lot of good as we approach the end of the season. Luckily for us, Watford also lost their game Cardiff, meaning that we are still at the top of the table, hanging on to our one point lead!

    (Mar 21st 2015) CH: FULHAM 2-0 BOURNEMOUTH
    Woodrow (19), Daniels (o.g. 71)
    Back to winning ways, hopefully. A goal in either half saw us through. Bournemouth was determined and started rather positively. Once we got the breakthrough, the lads started to gain control of the game. Woodrow's goal was a beautiful one, as we turned on the style by making 10 successful passes before crossing the ball for Woodrow to head home. A slight hint of tiki-taka there.

    What makes this victory sweet is the fact that Watford could only manage a draw against Derby. We go 3 points clear of Watford at the top, with 7 games to go.



  41. FULHAM FINED!

    We picked up six yellow cards in the game against Bournemouth. Yes, six! FA fined us $8.25 K for picking up so many bookings. I was in two minds as to whether the players needed a stern telling off. After deep thinking, I decided against it as they got the much needed victory, and I didn't want to worsen their morale during the critical phase of the season.

    THE INTERNATIONAL BREAK AND INJURY WOES:

    I am beginning to hate the national team managers. Three of them decided to completely ignore my instruction to restrict the game time of certain players to 45 minutes in the friendlies. I wouldn't usually mind this but one of my key players, Brian Ruiz came back with a severe injury which would sideline him for close to 2 months. It doesn't look like he'll be playing the remaining games this season. It is a significant blow as he has been the playmaker for our side. I decided to have a go at Paulo Wanchope, Costa Rica's head coach in the recent press conference.

    As things stand, two of my first team players are out with severe injuries. Marcus Bettinelli, who has pulled off some brilliant saves for us is also out injured along with Brian Ruiz. I hope this doesn't cost us the title.

  42. (Apr 4th 2015) CH: LEEDS 3-0 FULHAM
    Adryan (14, 67), Sharp (41)
    Oh boy - that was THE worst performance this season! We just couldn't keep control of the ball. Apparently, everyone decided to ignore my instructions from the word go. I clearly told the defenders to refrain from long passing and yet I see them attempting long balls, none of which seemed to find a Fulham player. I specifically told Scott Parker to keep an eye on Adryan as he was their key player. Yet, Parker was so far away from his man every time they had the ball. It was just appalling to watch.

    YOU BUNCH OF DAMN FOOLS!
    Those were the first words I told to the players after the last game. No one followed the team instructions and half the team ignored all the tactics.
    I told them their performance was downright terrible and that I was going to make major changes if they don't improve. A couple of players tried to speak back and I just gave them an angry look that made them shut up almost immediately. The morale was down, but it didn't bother me. They lost their right to be pleased with themselves after a performance like that.

  43. The last couple of days have been intense. With me still displeased at the players' performance against Leeds, they trained with very high intensity. It was good to watch. I tried my best to stay far away from the players the day before the game as I didn't want them to feel nervous. I let Peter Grant and Ulf Kirsten take care of the tactics for the next game. It was a big game against Nottingham Forest, who are in the mix for promotion. It was obvious they would come hard at us. But we needed a victory too. It was building up to be a good contest.

    (Apr 6th 2015) CH: FULHAM 1-0 NOTTM FOREST
    Cohen (o.g. 90)
    It was a close game. Both Nottm Forest and us went with an attacking mentality and were relentless in the opponent half. The game seemed to be heading towards a stalemate until a corner, taken by McCormack was parried away by their goalie. They tried to clear the ball while we tried to put it in the back of the net. After a few deflections and nervous kicks, the ball found its way into the back of the net. Officials gave it as an own goal by Chris Cohen but I am not sure. Replays weren't conclusive either as the penalty box was crowded with over 10 players. I wouldn't mind it though - a goal is a goal and I'll take it anyway they come.

    In other news, Leeds held Watford to a draw widening the gap between Watford and us to 4 points. I was delighted, but I tried to hide it in front of the players after our recent heated arguments.

    THE NOD OF APPROVAL:
    During the post-match meeting, I told them it was a good win, and nothing else. There were a few smiles and fists from the players as they were clearly delighted. I just nodded in approval without showing too much delight. I don't want to be one of those coaches that has such extreme mood swings in between games.

    Huw Jennings walked up to me and said - "Hey T, that was a bit....harsh, don't you think?". "I know", I said reluctantly, "but it had to be done." Jennings gave a wry smile as he left the dressing room.

  44. A POTENTIAL TITLE DECIDER:
    In the recent games, neither Watford nor we are in great form. After a few wins and losses in the recent games, we are ahead of Watford by 4 points. Our next match is against Watford, a HUGE clash. A win for us would put us seven points clear of The Hornets, with 4 games to go. That would all but seal our place at the top. A loss, however would reduce the gap between us to one points and with the recent see-saw performances, that would put a lot of pressure on us. A draw would be OK as well.

    However, I wanted to win. It was a home game and the fans would be entirely behind us. It was time for a meeting with the team.

    "We have to win. The league title is ours to lose if we can come out with a win this game. I know you guys can do it.", I said in a passionate manner.

    There were still a few nervous faces among the boys. I wasn't sure whether it was because of my aggressive telling off a few days back or because they weren't sure of themselves.

    "So, what do you think boys? Anything you want to discuss now. I want everything out in the open before the big game.", I said expecting them to say something.

    "So...are we sticking to our usual tactics and instructions? Any changes from the last game?", Parker asked.

    "Yes, there will be changes. I'll go over the tactics myself with you fellows. We'll practice intensely and win tomorrow.", I said in a reassuring tone.

    I intentionally didn't mention anything related to the Leeds performance as I wanted them to put it behind them. It did work, as the players seemed focused and gave it all they got in the training session leading up to the game.

  45. (Apr 11th 2015) CH: FULHAM vs. WATFORD


    1' McCormack with the freekick for Fulham. This looks promising. The shot hits the wall and Watford's Deeney comes away with the ball as they try to counter attack. Parker makes a fantastic tackle to dispossess him and tries to build a new attack. Woodrow has a crack at goal after that promising build-up and Gomes delfects it out for a corner. Positive start from Fulham.

    10' Fulham once again on the attack. A neat exchange between Hyndman and Roberts releases McCormack through the center. He picks out Voser on the right flank, who crosses it for Woodrow. Woodrow's fierce shot can only be parried away by Gomes. Watford couldn't clear it and Woodrow gets the ball again. He takes a crack at goal. Gomes does well to stop it but it falls to Patrick Roberts, who scores!!!!!

    FULHAM 1-0
    WATFORD


    19' It's all Fulham at the moment. They are pushing Watford back. Gomes is once again forced to make a terrific save from McCormack's volley. It falls to Roberts once again but he doesn't make a good contact. A wasted opportunity for Fulham.

    32' Watford get a free kick after Balanta commits a foul. It looked soft. Tozser with the free kick, as he puts the ball in the box for Deeney but Balanta clears the header off the line!!. Fulham with a chance to counter. A quick interchange of passes gives Roberts another opportunity but his shot is brilliantly saved by H. Gomes. Top draw stuff from Gomes here.

    42' McCormack with the corner for Fulham. Mathoho clears with the header but the ball falls back to McCormack, who dribbles past a sliding Hoban and crosses it into the box. It's Woodrow and he heads it home!


    FULHAM 2-0 WATFORD

    Fulham are ahead at half time after a dominating first half performance.

    58' Watford push forward and Amorebieta gives away a cheap free kick. Fulham manager Trott is not happy with the tackle and tells the players to focus. Toszer's free kick is a poor one and is way wide. That looked like a good opportunity for Watford to bring one back.

    Watford are pushing forward but are unable to get past Fulham defense and are restricted to long shots.

    67'
    Voser with the throw to Roberts, who crosses it for Woodrow. The shot is blocked and Watford are on the counter now. A long ball looking for Deeney is well intercepted by Balanta, who calmly gives Fulham back the possession. Watford starting to look more dangerous now. They are playing with intent.

    71' Watford with the throw. Fulham are pushed back a little bit as their manager tells them to calm down. Hoban dribbles past Voser easily and puts a beautiful cross for Deeney, who heads it wide. He'd be disappointed with that effort.

    Fulham make a few changes. Hyndman comes off for Christensen as Fulham are trying to hold onto this lead. McCormack, a striker is also coming off for Shaun Hutchinson, a central defender. Fulham change to a 3 central defender formation.

    82'
    Forestieri with the ball for Fulham. A neat one-two exchange with Deeney and he is free. Great chance for Watford. Forestieri shoots and Joronen makes a brilliant one handed save. He denies Watford a goal. Great stuff this!

    84' Watford are pushing everyone forward here as Fulham try to hang on. Not sure if this is the best tactic but they seem to be doing pretty well. Osmar, Abdi and Vydra exchange a few passes in Fulham's half. Osmar tries a shot from 30 yards. An audacious effort, but Joronen easily saves it. Signs of frustration from Watford. Fulham's defense is rock solid today. They are letting nothing past.

    2 mins. of added time

    91' Tozser with the cross as Watford are desparately trying to score. Parker rises above Deeney and heads it clear. Toszer passes it to Mathoho, who shoots! That was close but not close enough. Another long shot from well outside the box. Fulham wouldn't be too concerned.

    92' Joronen with the goal kick. Roberts with the ball for Fulham. Abdi concedes a throw. Voser's throw finds it way to Parker, who lays it for Woodrow to shoot. Another brilliant save from Heurelho Gomes. Woodrow must have though he had scored there. But Watford are on the counter now. Deeney runs with the ball. What a tackle from Amorebieta there. Used his strength to easily disposses the Watford top scorer in the league and gives Fulham back the control.

    93' Voser with the throw in. And the referee blows the whistle. What a game! Darren Trott is delighted with the result and the Fulham supporters are jumping with joy. This victory sends Fulham 7 points clear of Watford at the top of the league with only 4 games left. Watford fans are devastated. The players have their heads in hands.

    Fulham dominated the first half as they pushed Watford back, scoring two goals. Watford threw everything they got at Fulham in the second half but couldn't get past a rock-solid defensive display from the league leaders.

    Heurelho Gomes has been adjudged the player of the match as his amazing saves kept Fulham from taking a bigger lead.


    FULHAM 2-0 WATFORD


    The Goals:

    Last edited by mask0991; 14/03/2015 at 10:17 PM.

  46. (Apr 14th 2015) CH: MIDDLESBROUGH 3-3 FULHAM
    Clayton (7, 31), Vossen (90); Roberts (20, 59); Christensen (38)

    Goals galore. They took the lead twice but we equalized both times in relatively quick time. For the first time in the game, we took the lead in the 59th minute through Roberts, who was in brilliant form in the game. We were almost through and got away with 3 points but Vossen had different plans as he scored an equalizer. I am a touch disappointed with it as I felt this was a winnable game. I didn't let the players know that thought because I didn't want to lower their morale during this critical part of the season.

    Now, the entire team must turn their attention to the FA Cup semi-final against West Ham at Wembley. It'll be a tough game for sure but I believe in my players and they are all raring to go against West Ham.

  47. The rise of Fulham-fa-cup.jpg
    FA CUP SEMI FINAL
    WEST HAM 3-1 FULHAM
    Enner Valencia (55, 114), Andy Carroll (108); Cauley Woodrow (81)

    Disappointing to lose in extra time. We used a similar strategy as the Man City game. Sit back, and hit the opponents on the counter. A lapse in concentration by the defense allowed Valencia to sneak back and score a thunderbolt. No way Joronen could've stopped that. We started attacking more during the closing stages of the normal time and it paid off as Woodrow scored a powerful header to equalize for us.

    With several first team players like Brian Ruiz, Stafylidis, Voser injured, the players were clearly overworked in the past few days and there were very tired legs on the field. We switched back to the counter attack strategy in the extra time but Andy Carroll scored from 30 yards to give them the lead. When someone scores from over 25 yards, no tactic is going to help you. We pushed forward trying to equalize but tired legs meant we couldn't track back in time as West Ham hit us on the counter and Enner Valencia scored his second. The players were dejected and there was no way back in for us. I just encouraged them from the touch line but the game was lost.

    It was a disappointing loss but I couldn't blame the players for that because we have been plagued with injuries to key players and a lot of the first team players are not fully fit due to extremely congested fixtures.

  48. We only need 3 points from the 3 remaining games to secure the title. Just one win required. It was time to have a quick chat with the players. The lads just finished their training session before the game tomorrow, against Norwich. Before thet left, Grant assembled the players for me to have a talk.

    "I know you're all tired but I wanted to remind you that we just need one win to win the championship. We have 3 games left. We can do it. What do you fellows think?", I said in a positive tone.

    A few players mumbled positive responses. Not sure if it was the pressure or tiredness, but there was something bugging them.

    "No pressure lads. You don't need to do anything extra ordinary tomorrow. Just play like any other game and the result will come."

    There were a few nods of approval from the players. Parker rallied the guys. "Come on boys, we can win the title. It's what we deserve after a fantastic season.", he said in a voice that was oozing with confidence.

    When your skipper is confident, the players automatically gain a bit of self-confidence. Parker, the experienced campaigner knew that and the players did respond positively. I wished the lads all the best as we called it a night.

    Despite sounding positive, I was nervous deep inside. Our next game was against Norwich at home, who are tough competitors. That was followed by an away fixture against Bolton. The last one was at home, against Charlton. Norwich and Bolton were both tough fixtures, in their own rights. I don't like leaving it till the last match day as that would put a lot of pressure on the guys.

    I went back to my room, poured a glass of wine and played some soothing music to help take my mind off the game tomorrow.
    Last edited by mask0991; 15/03/2015 at 02:02 AM.

  49. (Apr 22nd 2015) CH: FULHAM 2-2 NORWICH
    Woodrow (17, 81); Powell (44), Bennett (54)


    One point. I'm not too disappointed with the result as the draw suited the game perfectly. Both teams played cautiously making sure not to concede but the goals came as a result of some smart gameplay from both sides. Our lead that came through Woodrow's strike was cancelled by Powell just before half time. Norwich took the lead 10 minutes into the second half and looked like going away with 3 points. But Woodrow had different plans as he scored a wonderful solo goal in the 81st minute, equalizing for us.

    The last 10 minutes were nervous as both teams made critical defensive mistakes but neither team was able to take advantage. The game ended in a draw.

    Woodrow's solo goal was the highlight of the game. It was a marvelous goal. For your viewing pleasure:


  50. FULHAM WIN THE SKY-BET CHAMPIONSHIP


    (Apr 25th 2015) CH: BOLTON 0-2 FULHAM
    Roberts (44, 90)

    We did it. We have won the title after that thumping victory over the Trotters. Patrick Roberts scored two goals, one in each half. We pegged Bolton back multiple times and should've won the game by a bigger margin, but 3 points is 3 points. But I don't care - we won the championship - in my very first season as manager. It is a delightful feeling.

    This news article says it all:

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