Fulham manager Martin Jol has admitted he can take no positives from his side’s 4-1 deafeat in their FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Much of the pre-match build-up seemed to focus on Dimitar Berbatov’s return to the Theatre of Dreams, with most of Fulham’s hopes pinned on the Bulgarian, but they were facing an uphill struggle from the second minute.
Aaron Hughes’ handball allowed Ryan Giggs to score from the spot before a Javier Hernandez double and a solitary Wayne Rooney strike put the match beyond the Cottagers. Hughes redeemed himself with a consolation goal, but Jol was utterly despondent following the match.
Talking to reporters, Jol said: “I don’t think there were any positives. The only thing is you have to keep our head up. We play three matches in 10 days against Manchester City and twice against United and of course in between we have that match against West Ham.
“Hopefully we can pick up the points against West Ham on Wednesday because that is the most important thing.
“There was no conviction in our possession. There was no link-up between the defence and midfield or the midfield and forwards.
“We missed Giorgio [Giorgios Karagounis], so we tried to repair that in the second half. After they scored the two goals in the second half the game was finished.”
In Fulham’s defeat to Manchester City last weekend the Cottagers went behind early, and with it happening again at Old Trafford, Jol feels he is having to say the same things too often.
He continued: “This is all what I was saying last week. We went into the City match unbeaten in four, two good away wins and two home draws which we were disappointed about, and then we had that match against City.
“We conceded in the first two minutes. We lost the balls ourselves. We were a victim of ourselves and today was the same.
“I just thought today, they played with four players up front. They tried to stretch us. There was a big gap between our defence and midfield and we could do nothing about it.
“They were stronger than us. Normally if you play a team that plays 4-2-4, that is very offensive, you can try to hurt them, but they were too mobile for us.”
Jol went on to discuss recent arrival Emmanuel Frimpong, who signed on loan from Arsenal this week and although the manager has not seen him in action yet, he revealed the midfielder could be in line to play against West Ham on Wednesday.
He added: “He will train with us and then I will assess him because he has only had his medical check so far.
“We will see what his fitness is like, if he can play. But I feel he can play a big part in our squad. He passed our medical and that is not easy, as it happened several times last year where a player could not pass the medical, but he looked fit.”
Finally, the Dutchman targeted wins against teams around Fulham in the Premier League and he hopes his side can improve their home form starting on Wednesday.
“We are not in the top half of the table, we know that,” he said. “So we have to pick up points against teams around us. We did it against Wigan, but we did not do it against Southampton.
“Our last home win was against Newcastle, so hopefully we can get the win [against West Ham on Wednesday].”