Author Topic: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...  (Read 8741 times)

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2014, 06:29:59 AM »
 
Ruiz close to completing loan move to Real Betis until the end of the season

Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz is expected to complete his loan move to Real Betis on Friday with the Spanish side paying a loan fee of around £820,000.

The 28-year-old Costa Rican underwent a medical on Thursday and could make his debut against Osasuna on Sunday.

He has struggled to make an impact under Rene Muelensteen and wants first team football ahead of the World Cup in the summer.


Leaving: Bryan Ruiz is close to completing a loan move to Real Betis for the end of the season

Costa Rica are in the same group as England and they will meet in the final group game on June 24 in Belo Horizonte.

Ruiz cost Fulham £12million from FC Twente two years ago but the 28-year-old has played just 12 Premier League games this season and scored one goal.

Meulensteen has only used started Ruiz once since taking over at Craven Cottage. Betis, however, are doing even worse than Fulham and sit bottom of La Liga with just 11 points from their first 18 games.


Not needed: Ruiz has started just once since Meulensteen took over


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2536821/Bryan-Ruiz-close-completing-loan-Real-Betis-end-season.html#ixzz2pyTrPy8K
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Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2014, 06:32:47 AM »
 
LAWRO'S PREDICTION

Fulham v Sunderland
Sunderland rode their luck a little bit against Manchester United on Tuesday but ended up with a really good win in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

It is back to reality for the Black Cats now in their relegation fight and it is these games that are the important ones for them, against another struggling team.

The Cottagers have shaken up their entire coaching setup with the arrivals of Alan Curbishley and now Ray Wilkins to join manager Rene Meulensteen.

After getting thrashed 6-0 by Hull, they bounced back well to beat West Ham in their last league outing, and another home win here would be huge for them.

Sunderland are still down amongst the dead men but, since Gus Poyet took charge in October, they have not been that bad.

The Black Cats have been playing OK and have been competitive in games, but their big problem is that they look goal-shy.

They seem to have to make an awful lot of chances to get a goal and that means they make things very difficult for themselves.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0


http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/25666378

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2014, 06:35:21 AM »
 
Fulham Weighing Up Move For Dane As Berbatov Replacement



With Dimitar Berbatov reportedly looking to leave Craven Cottage this month, Fulham are lining up a possible replacement for the forward in the shape of Brondby striker Simon Makienok.

 

The 23-year-old forward has been linked with a move to a number of Premier League clubs over the last couple of weeks, but is in no rush to make a decision on his future according to The Independent. The giant 6ft 7in Danish international is looking to join a club where he can be confident of a top flight future in order to build his career.

Makienok had scored six goals in ten games for Brondby so far this season prior to picking up a hamstring injury in October, but is on his way to recovery. His tall frame and strong physical game is complimented by a good first touch, something which has been thought to please Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen, who would reportedly have to pay in the region of £3.3million for the player.

Simon Makienok Christoffersen | Brondby IF | Skills, Goals, Assists | 2013 HD

Makienok hit 15 league goals last season, and last year gained his first cap for his national side –  he has six caps so far. The player also turned down a move to Russia last year after Brondby accepted a bid for him, but he is looking carefully at his next move.

Fulham will wait on Berbatov to decide his future before making a move for the Dane, but at 23 and with a lot to offer to the English style of play, Makienok may be a name we hear more of over the coming months.



http://www.footymatters.com/articles/english-football/premier-league/fulham-weighing-up-move-for-dane-as-berbatov-replacement/?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2014, 07:13:20 AM »
 
Elsad Wary Of Black Cats

Sunderland may arrive at Craven Cottage on Saturday (3pm) bottom of the league but Elsad Zverotić is expecting a tough test of Fulham’s credentials.

The Black Cats are currently four points adrift of safety at the foot of the Barclays Premier League, but have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes of late. Gus Poyet’s side have lost just one of their last five league games and also earned a morale-boosting win over Manchester United in the First Leg of their Capital One Cup Semi-Final on Tuesday night.

The Whites, too, are on the up and Zverotić told the official website: “We know that the game against Sunderland is an important one. It’s so tight at the moment, and there are a lot of teams that need to fight their way out of where they are in the table.

“They [Sunderland] are at the bottom right now, but they’ve shown that they’re a very capable side on their day. They beat Manchester United 2-1 in the League Cup this week, and that would have given them a lot of confidence.

“They’ve actually had some very good results; beating Newcastle United, Manchester City and Everton this season. They also defeated Chelsea in the League Cup and ran them close in the league.

“Gus Poyet has come in as Head Coach, and he’s having a good effect. He has some good players in his side, and we’ll have to be very aware of that when they come to Craven Cottage.”

A win for the Whites on Saturday, coupled with results elsewhere, could see René Meulensteen’s men go up to the dizzy heights of 13th.

“We opened the season with a win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, so hopefully we can get the three points again,” said right-back Zverotić, who started last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City in the FA Cup with Budweiser. “If we can do that, then we could really start to push up the table.

“We got a fantastic win against West Ham United on New Year’s Day, and it’s vital that we build on that. We’re playing some good football; if we keep playing the way we have been then I’m sure we’ll fine. We’re taking one game at a time.

“This is a tough league, one of the best in the world. It’s so competitive, but that’s the challenge I knew that it would be when I signed. I’ve enjoyed my time at the Club so far, and I’m determined to help the team as much as a I can.”



http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/january/09/elsad-wary-of-black-cats

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2014, 07:16:33 AM »
 
Head-To-Head

The opposition

Black Cats Head Coach Gus Poyet will be hoping to use Capital One Cup wins over Chelsea and Manchester United in the last month as a springboard to improve his team's Barclays Premier League form.

The two home wins against Jose Mourinho and David Moyes' men have put the Wearsiders in with a good chance of a Wembley appearance, but Poyet knows an urgent upturn in league form is required if they’re to avoid relegation.

And with confidence high after Tuesday's 2-1 Semi-Final, First Leg win over Manchester United, Sunderland will be hoping they can turn around their disappointing league campaign which has seen them win only three times this season.

In fairness to the Black Cats, their three triumphs in the Premier League this season have all been impressive. The first saw them narrowly overcome their high-flying neighbours Newcastle United at the end of October, before a solitary Phil Bardsley goal was enough to defeat title hopefuls Manchester City not long after at the Stadium of Light.

They also became only the third (Fulham were the first) side to defeat Everton this season as Ki Sung-Yueng’s penalty against the 10-man Toffees inflicted a first – and ultimately only – Goodison Park defeat of the calendar year on the Merseyside outfit.


Last time out

Sunderland 0-1 Fulham 17.08.2013

Pajtim Kasami scored his first Fulham goal as the Whites began the 2013/14 Premier League season with a fine 1-0 win at Sunderland.

Fulham defended resolutely in the first half and managed to keep Sunderland at bay, then, in the 52nd minute, the Swiss midfielder arrived from a corner to head the visitors into the lead. A further defensive shut-down in the second period proved enough to clinch the perfect start to the new campaign.

Sunderland began the brightest as Fulham gave away possession in the early exchanges to allow striker Jozy Altidore a sight of goal, but his shot was deflected well over the bar. Adam Johnson then broke down the right-hand side with a burst of pace on five minutes, but his pass was too late as Altidore was caught offside.

Fulham were on the back foot and struggling to get control of the ball. Cabral shot wide, then a long ball floated over the top found no one and the Whites’ first sustained piece of pressure brought about an effort from Kasami which was well blocked. Starting to string some passes together, the visitors began to look more imposing and some nimble footwork from Damien Duff and Adel Taarabt on the wings almost carved an opening.

The Black Cats, with five debutants, were the better team throughout but Kasami headed home from close range for the only goal in the second half.

Ondrej Celustka had the hosts' best chance but his 25-yard shot was saved brilliantly by Maarten Stekelenburg and Ji Dong-Won could have rescued a point for Sunderland in the final minute but he headed Adam Johnson's cross wide.


Players to watch

Adam Johnson: A mercurial winger who forged an impressive reputation at Middlesbrough, Adam Johnson joined his hometown club in August 2012 for a reported £10m from Manchester City where he won Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield winner’s medals. A consistent danger who is able to operate on both flanks at will, Johnson has 12 England caps and two goals but has yet to establish himself as a regular in the national side under Roy Hodgson's management. Johnson, 26, made 40 appearances in his first season on Wearside, scoring five goals, including a fine solo goal in the 3-0 win over Newcastle at St James' Park. So far this season he has made 12 league starts and scored one goal.

John O'Shea: Club captain who was signed by Steve Bruce from Manchester United in 2011, the 32-year-old Republic of Ireland international won an incredible 15 trophies while at Old Trafford and, although he can play at full-back, he is more at home in central defence. He is a five-time Premier League title winner and was in the squad alongside fellow Sunderland centre-half Wes Brown for United in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow as they beat Chelsea on penalties, although he was an unused substitute. O'Shea also won the FA Cup in 2004, the League Cup in 2006, 2009 and 2010 and has lifted four Community Shields and a FIFA Club World Cup. He signed off with a fifth league title win in May 2011 and left Old Trafford having played an impressive 392 times, scoring 15 goals. Capped more than 90 times by his country, O'Shea has become a mainstay in the Sunderland defence over the last two campaigns, with 36 appearances last term, and has played in all 16 Premier League games this season.

Fabio Borini: An unquestionably talented forward currently on loan from Liverpool, Fabio Borini has already etched his name in Sunderland folklore with a sublime strike that decided the Tyne-Wear derby earlier in the season. That remains his only goal in the league this season, but the 22-year-old has proved his worth in the Capital One Cup with crucial strikes against Chelsea in the Quarter-Final and, more recently, against Manchester United in Tuesday’s Semi. Capped once by Italy, the former Chelsea and Roma striker has a fine strike on him and could prove to be an important component for Poyet as Sunderland fight relegation.


Magic numbers

2 - Times Saturday's referee Mike Dean has refereed this game before - in 2001 and 2009. Both were won by Fulham

3 - Number of former Manchester United defenders in the Sunderland squad

5 - Sunderland players who are joint-top goalscorers this season with three goals

9 - Fulham's points haul from the last six league games, our best run of form this season

25 - Fulham shots on target over the festive period (21st Dec-1st Jan ), more than any other Premier League team

40 - Percentage of Sunderland's goals scored this season in the first 10 minutes or last five minutes of Premier League games this season

192 - Fouls committed by Fulham in the Premier League this season

216 - Fouls committed by Sunderland in the Premier League this season

1879 - Year both clubs were founded



http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/january/09/head-to-head

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2014, 07:24:10 AM »
 
Bryan Ruiz’s time at Fulham set to be full of collective regret

The Mirror reported yesterday that Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz is a transfer-target for La Liga side Real Betis, and there seems to be a general sense of acceptance that the Costa Rican will be leaving Craven Cottage imminently.

What a shame.

Although Ruiz hasn’t had the best time in England, and his move to the Premier League will be retrospectively assessed as a failure, my opinion of him as a player really hasn’t changed, and that’s really because the conditions for him to succeed have never been in place at Fulham.

Over the past two-and-a-half seasons, Ruiz has frequently been used in wider positions when evidently his skill-set is suited to a central-role. His primary attributes – his vision and his passing – are marginalised when deployed close to the touchline, and he has subsequently found it very difficult to influence games from those areas.

It’s easy to criticise Martin Jol for that, because on the surface it appears like a clear misallocation of resources, but remember that Ruiz’s time at Fulham runs almost parallel to that of Dimitar Berbatov, and there’s some significant overlap between where the Costa Rican would be best-utilised and where the Bulgarian ultimately plays – Jol, more often than not, seemed to accommodate one at the expense of the other.

My philosophy with creative attacking-midfielders is fairly simple: they need pace around them to be effective. Had Ruiz had two wingers who provided a vertical threat either side of him, and a forward who played off the back-shoulder of a defence ahead of him, his statistical return in the Premier League would probably have been far more significant – pace is a simple commodity, but it creates passing channels and space for playmakers to take advantage of. Whilst Ruiz never truly adjusted to English football – and that’s something he must take some responsibility for – it’s easy to argue that Fulham failed to put the players around him who would have helped make his transfer a success.

If he does move, then he will just be remembered as an advanced bit of technology that Martin Jol never fully knew how to use: buttons were pressed, cool things occasionally happened, but ultimately nobody bothered to read the instruction manual.


http://thepremierleagueowl.com/bryan-ruizs-time-at-fulham-set-to-be-full-of-collective-regret/


Offline Neil D

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2014, 09:22:09 AM »

Bryan Ruiz’s time at Fulham set to be full of collective regret


If he does move, then he will just be remembered as an advanced bit of technology that Martin Jol never fully knew how to use: buttons were pressed, cool things occasionally happened, but ultimately nobody bothered to read the instruction manual.

That's Ruiz in a sentence - brilliant summing up.

Offline ltd-ffc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2014, 10:56:46 AM »

Fulham v Sunderland preview


Clint Dempsey: Poised to make second Premier League bow

Fulham are likely to shuffle their pack again for a home date with Sunderland, having offered game time to youngsters and fringe players in their 1-1 FA Cup third round draw at Norwich.

Clint Dempsey made his second debut for the club in that contest, after joining on a short-term loan, while Darren Bent was back among the goals and both men will be hoping to have done enough to retain their starting berths.

The likes of Scott Parker, Damien Duff and Dimitar Berbatov will be among those pushing for recalls, while there is a chance that goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (ankle) and defender Matthew Briggs (hernia) could come back into contention. Brede Hangeland is, however, still nursing a back complaint.

Steven Fletcher is set to keep his place in Sunderland's starting line-up after shrugging off a slight knock sustained in the midweek cup win over Manchester United.

Black Cats boss Gus Poyet does not expect any fresh injury concerns and could keep faith in the side that secured their 2-1 first-leg win, although Adam Johnson is pushing for a recall after being singled out by Poyet for special praise.

Poyet is without midfielder Cabral who has moved to Genoa on loan until the end of the season, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2014, 11:24:36 AM »
 
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet sets his sights on eight wins for Premier League survival
GUS POYET has set his sights on eight wins for Sunderland to secure Premier League survival - starting at Fulham tomorrow.

The Black Cats have won just three of their opening 20 league games.

And Poyet insists that if they are to avoid relegation, their revival can not be delayed much longer.

"We are looking at around 40 points and that means winning eight games and picking up a few draws," he said. "But it is important to get those wins as soon as possible.

"We are right in the mix, which wasn't the case a few weeks ago. Now we have to climb ahead of some teams.

"The Fulham game can change the season, so I am really looking forward to it."

Argentine defender Santiago Vergini will become Sunderland's second signing of the transfer window following the arrival of Marcos Alonso last week.

Poyet had hoped to have the 25-year-old centre-half available for the match at Craven Cottage but the deal won't be done in time.

Meanwhile, Swiss misfit Adilson Cabral has completed his loan move to Genoa.


http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/359786/Sunderland-boss-Gus-Poyet-sets-his-sights-on-eight-wins-for-Premier-League-survival


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2014, 11:26:13 AM »
 
Lee Clark unsure of Dan Burn return as Blues face balancing act over loanees
 
Blues left to wait over availability of former loanees as boss Lee Clark considers possible replacements for departed trio


Lee Clark
Matthew Lewis / Getty Images

Lee Clark has admitted he faces a delicate balancing act over Birmingham City loans.

Dan Burn could return to the club from Fulham after being recalled by them, but Clark in the meantime has to consider alternatives to bring in on a temporary basis.

He is waiting to see what Manchester United have planned for Jesse Lingard, while he also explained why Aaron Mclean wasn’t re-engaged from Hull City.

“On the loans, it’s a suck it and see,” he said.

“Jesse has gone back on Manchester United’s say so. They are obviously having a look to see if he’s ready to be involved in their squad.

“Dan got called back and was immediately thrown in against Norwich in the FA Cup.

“The people I know there - I have still got a lot of friends at the football club - said he was exceptional on the day.

“The new manager was very, very pleased with him and the staff complimented him on the development we helped Dan with in the first half of the season.

“But that’s still not been closed on us. There is still a possibility of us getting him back.

“The challenge for me now is that do I wait right until the last minute for Dan or do I just get a replacement in because of the scenario where we can’t get him back?

“It’s a balancing act I have got and it’s a little bit like that with Jesse as well.”

Mclean missed his last two Blues matches with a slight hamstring injury, returned to Hull, played and scored in their FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough.

“Aaron’s contract finished on January 1,” explained Clark.

“On any loan, it has got to be a three-way agreement. So that’s between me, Steve Bruce and Hull and Aaron.

“Myself and Steve had that agreement to extend it, but Aaron decided that he wanted to keep his options open.

“He had a little injury towards the end of his time with us.

“But when he got back after January 1, he was deemed fit by the Hull medical team after rest and recuperation with us.

“If he had stayed with us, he would have trained and been the same.

“Steve decided to throw him in and he scored. That’s the way it goes.

“I know for a fact - I have spoken to other managers - that there’s five or six other clubs in for Aaron. So he has got a decision to make. We would have liked to have kept him here.”

“Obviously the goal posts have moved for us because we know the situation here financially and my priorities are different now in terms of recruitment,” Clark continued.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find out where (in what area) I would like to bring players in.

“I have tried really hard over the last eight or nine days and things haven’t happened.

“And those reasons are various: clubs wanting loan fees, which we can’t pay; players on too much salary for us; young centre-halves that we are after needed by their squads because experienced centre-halves have gone down injured; or actually the players we have wanted have picked up an injury during the course of us speaking to their clubs.

“Also, sometimes, it’s the length of the contract that we can offer. We can’t offer long-term contracts to people, it’s probably working on month to month emergency loan deals. That always doesn’t appeal to players.

“So that’s the bottom line.”

Clark admitted that it was frustrating to see good young players taken out of his hands and go elsewhere.

And he said, in an ideal world, he would like Burn back in the ranks.

“Dan will probably play in the FA Cup replay and they were that impressed with him, they were talking that he might be involved in the league game at the weekend.

“If that happens it would start to diminish even more the chances of getting him back.

“It’s a great thing for me I’m losing a player who is going to play in the Premier League.

“But it’s just a bit frustrating that I’m watching Match of the Day on a Saturday night and seeing all these players I’ve worked with performing for different clubs: the Redmonds, Pilkingtons, Morrisons and Burns of this world.”


http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/birmingham-city-lee-clark-unsure-6489278?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2014, 11:28:13 AM »
 
The Dossier: Relegation rivals prove West Ham could be better off without Allardyce

Although the Hammers' public backing for their boss is commendable, the likes of Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Fulham show that a fresh approach can be key to survival

Traditionally the biggest tell-tale sign that a manager is under pressure is a public backing from a club's owners. The dreaded 'vote of confidence'. The apparent need to tell the world that, in fact, their employee is doing a good job and has their support often speaks volumes about the real concerns lurking just below the surface.

Sam Allardyce was the latest to be afforded such a privilege, with West Ham co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan underlining their faith in their manager and even detailing their troubles with injuries and positive transfer news to appease the fans.

Scorn can easily be thrown in the direction of Upton Park but the fact remains that Gold and Sullivan’s backing is commendable. They are attempting to allay Allardyce’s fears in the hope that he can concentrate on and improve on-field matters.

After all, the likes of Malky Mackay could only wish for such support when Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan told his former manager to resign or be sacked. Naturally Mackay chose the latter and was shown the door, along with a hefty pay-off.

But when really is the right time to call it a day and turn over a new leaf? When is change good?

So far this season, six Premier League managers have left their clubs - be it by mutual consent or not-so-mutual consent - with four of those clubs currently occupying the bottom five places in the league standings; Sunderland, Fulham, Cardiff and Crystal Palace.

Starting with the league’s bottom side, Sunderland, Paolo Di Canio was dismissed on September 23 after a return of just one point from their opening five league games. The Black Cats still reside in 20th place but with a healthier return of 14 points from 20 games - with Gus Poyet leading them to 13 points from his 15 games in charge.

Poyet immediately altered Sunderland’s style of play, ditching the formulaic two-up-top approach the Italian utilised, with a slightly more defensive-minded lone striker supported by the likes of Fabio Borini, Sebastian Larsson and Emanuele Giaccherini out wide - while reducing the pressure to perform on the likes of Adam Johnson - who went from playing every minute this season under Di Canio to playing the full 90 minutes just once in the Premier League since the Uruguayan took over.

The former Brighton manager also reinstated Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole. The latter made just one appearance under Di Canio this season and was stripped of the captaincy, but has made 11 since Poyet’s appointment. The manager recently said he had "no words high enough" to praise the midfielder.

But the true revelation of Poyet’s tenure has been the resurgence of Bardsley. The defender was suspended by Di Canio following a string of off-field troubles but has been an ever-present under the new manager. Indeed, he is now the club’s joint-top scorer with three goals and was instrumental in Sunderland’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United on Tuesday night.

Poyet’s answer to Sunderland’s problems was to give the squad a much-needed fresh start, and it’s worked.
Fulham is a tough one. Results have evidently improved, even performances have more vigour than the last few under Martin Jol but the 6-0 embarrassment at the hands of newly-promoted Hull is an unavoidable black spot as Rene Meulensteen otherwise manages to steady the ship.

The Cottagers were unlucky in defeat at Craven Cottage to Tottenham in the Dutchman’s first game in charge, with a man-of-the-match display from Hugo Lloris seeing the home side end up empty-handed, but a much-improved performance from Dimitar Berbatov guided the team to victory over Aston Villa three days later - ending a run of seven consecutive defeats.

And that has been the main highlight of Meulensteen’s tenure thus far. He has re-energised the older, more experienced members of the squad, such as Berbatov, Scott Parker and Damien Duff. This, in turn, has given the youngsters a new lease of life - the performances of the likes of Pajtim Kasami and Alexander Kacaniklic had waned after bright starts to the season.

Indeed, Fulham look a far more expansive unit under the former Manchester United first-team coach, and chairman Shahid Khan continues to bolster the club's staff - as shown by the appointments of Alan Curbishley and Ray Wilkins in backroom roles.

Meulensteen has taken charge of seven Premier League games - recording three wins and four defeats - since taking over from Jol and in that time their attacking prowess has increased remarkably; registering 116 shots on goal, 44 of which have been on target. In Jol’s last seven games before being sacked, Fulham's record reads 57 shots, 12 on target.

Meulensteen’s approach at Craven Cottage was to utilise the vast experience in Fulham’s ranks and, in turn, re-inspire the fledging talents, which has evidently worked. But it’s still early days.

Speaking of early days, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken charge of just one game since replacing the fired Mackay, but it did result in a first win over Newcastle United in 51 years and a place in the FA Cup fourth round.

And, with the Magpies going ahead through Papiss Cisse on the hour-mark, the Norwegian acted quickly to introduce Craig Noone and Frazier Campbell - with the former scoring within two minutes and Solskjaer’s ex-Manchester United team-mate notching the winner 10 minutes from time.

Many Cardiff fans were sad to see Mackay go, especially given the circumstances, but the club’s record of just one win in their last 10 Premier League games - a run including six defeats - is relegation form. Thus the tactical nous shown by Solskjaer in just 90 minutes, not to mention two titles and a cup with Molde, is very promising indeed and should give fans reason to be optimistic.

Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace is the biggest success story of those battling it out at the bottom. The former Stoke City manager replaced Ian Holloway after his predecessor departed - commendably citing the need for a new approach in an attempt to avoid relegation.

Before Pulis’ appointment, the Eagles had just one win to their name - losing the other seven games - and were sticking to Holloway’s attempts at expansive football. Pulis has taken charge of eight Premier League games since his appointment and immediately improved Palace’s performances.

A return of 10 points, plus an FA Cup third-round win away at West Brom, has seen the Londoners close the gap between themselves and safety from five points to one - and goal difference from minus five to minus one.

Alan Pardew described Pulis’ approach as "physically demanding" and "direct", a style he honed at the Britannia Stadium, which is in stark contrast to the open, counter-attacking football under Holloway.

Palace conceded 39 shots on target in Holloway's eight Premier League games in charge - an average of 4.8 per game - with 17 goals conceded - a dire average of 2.12 per game. Under Pulis, the shots-to-game ratio reduces to 3.6, with just eight goals conceded.

The shape of the team is far more concise and regimented under Pulis, giving the squad more direction - vital in a relegation battle that currently, realistically, includes teams all the way up to Hull City in 10th spot.

Pulis’ answer to a Crystal Palace side which seemed overawed by their first exposure to top-flight football for the first time since 2004-05 was to, typically, make them a far tougher team to break down. It isn't necessarily pretty but a new-found focus evident at Selhurst Park is crucial.

So, following yet another cup humiliation for West Ham, is now the time for Gold and Sullivan to entertain the thought of a new man? If the Hammers’ fellow relegation rivals who are under new direction are anything to go by, then the answer is a resounding yes.



http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/4705/the-dossier/2014/01/10/4530529/-?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2014, 11:29:20 AM »
 
Alex Kacaniklic vows 6-0 mauling will be a watershed moment for Fulham

Fulham winger Alex Kacaniklic admits the Cottagers’ 6-0 hammering at Hull over Christmas acted as a wake-up call in their battle to stay up.

The Tigers scored six second-half goals to embarrass Rene Meulensteen’s men on December 28 but Fulham have responded with a win over West Ham in the Premier League and a draw at Norwich in the FA Cup to start 2014 unbeaten.

They will need to maintain that start to the year if they are to beat rock-bottom Sunderland tomorrow at Craven Cottage and continue their climb away from danger.

And Kacaniklic, who has made an impact in the Cottagers’ first team this season, believes the defeat at the KC Stadium can act as a turning point.

‘It can’t happen again,’ said the Sweden international. ‘Steve Sidwell came out after the game and apologised to the fans. Fair play to Hull, winning 6-0, but they’re not Real Madrid.’

Tickets are on general sale for Fulham v Sunderland at Craven Cottage tomorrow at 3pm and can be purchased by visiting www.fulhamfc.com/tickets or by calling 0843 208 1234



http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/10/alex-kacaniklic-vows-6-0-mauling-will-be-a-watershed-moment-for-fulham-4257047/?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2014, 11:30:30 AM »
 
Boss wants Sunderland’s big names to stand up and be counted at Fulham

GUS Poyet wants his big-name, big-game players to stand up and be counted this weekend.

The Black Cats’ boss is determined that Sunderland will finally end their dismal record of failing to beat a bottom half of the table side when they take on fellow strugglers Fulham at Craven Cottage tomorrow.

The Wearsiders have not mustered a win against teams in the bottom half in 10 attempts so far this season and Poyet wants that sequence to end now.

But he believes the key to that goal is for his star players to shine in the capital after a run of just one defeat in their last eight games for Sunderland.

Poyet told the Echo: “I know what we need to get out of the trouble we are in and obviously the key is to win game regularly.

“To do that in this league, you need a number of things.

“The key to games nowadays, especially at the bottom, is that you need to be organised, you need to difficult to beat, you need to be strong, mentally and physically and finally you need the players, the best players, who can produce a bit of magic, to do that for you.

“You need players who can stand out and make the difference after the rest have done their share of the hard work.

“They are normally the best attackers at the club and players who can do something a bit special.

“And I do feel as though it is coming, there are players who are getting better and better, who are making good decisions, who are taking greater responsibility.

“That’s so important, because we have our share of match-winners.”

Among the players who are capable of that star quality are £12million striker Steven Fletcher, who is overdue a purple patch of goals, £10m former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson, Italian internationals Emanuele Giaccherini and Fabio Borini, as well as South Korean star Ki Sung-Yueng.

Poyet said: “It has been a lot of hard work by everybody, but I see good things coming.

“I mean I don’t know if you knew that Fabio Borini was going to take a penalty against Manchester United, but I didn’t!

“I suspected Ki Sung-Yueng would take it, but Fabio grabbed the ball and said he wanted to take it.

“I was delighted with that and not just because he scored but because the desire was there.

“And it wouldn’t be a case of, if he scored, good decision; if he didn’t, bad decision.

“It was good that he wanted to accept the responsibility and that he wanted to take the penalty, that’s exactly the sort of attitude we need.

“In the same game, you can look at Adam Johnson, who came on and changed the game for us, in my opinion.

“I know that Marcos Alonso got man-of-the-match against Manchester United, but, having won the penalty, maybe if Adam had got up and scored it, he would have got man-of-the-match.

“I know he was a substitute, but I’ve had experience of coming on as a substitute and being awarded man-of-the-match.

“For me, Adam was key to our victory because he came on – he was up for it, he was running at United, he was always looking to shoot or make a key pass and he was always positive.

“He has that ability to win you a game with a bit of skill or vision and we need those sort of players to show for us in tomorrow’s game and the games ahead.”



http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/sport/football/sunderland-afc/boss-wants-sunderland-s-big-names-to-stand-up-and-be-counted-at-fulham-1-6364149

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2014, 11:31:46 AM »
 
Sunderland star set to start at Fulham after injury in Manchester United win

Steven Fletcher is set to keep his place in Sunderland’s starting line-up for the Premier League trip to Fulham after shrugging off a slight knock sustained in the midweek Capital One Cup win over Manchester United.

Black Cats boss Gus Poyet does not expect any fresh injury concerns and could keep faith in the side that secured their 2-1 first-leg win, although Adam Johnson is pushing for a recall after being singled out by Poyet for special praise.

Poyet is without midfielder Cabral who has moved to Genoa on loan until the end of the season, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Provisional squad: Mannone, Pickford, Celustka, Dossena, Alonso, Bardsley, O’Shea, Brown, Diakite, Roberge, Cattermole, Gardner, Ki, Giaccherini, Johnson, Larsson, Ba, Karlsson, Mavrias, Colback, Fletcher, Altidore, Borini


http://www.london24.com/sport/fulham/sunderland_star_set_to_start_at_fulham_after_injury_in_manchester_united_win_1_3196932

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2014, 11:33:16 AM »
 
Fulham boss hopes to get Bent firing again
 
Meulensteen says striker can build on last weekend's strike against Norwich City


On the up: Fulham striker Darren Bent
Rene Meulensteen reckons Darren Bent has put his troubles behind him and can play a part in Fulham’s survival bid.

The 29-year-old striker endured a nightmare spell at Aston Villa last season before his summer loan switch to Craven Cottage.

However, Bent has failed to command a regular starting spot and managed just four goals in 18 games.

But manager Meulensteen hopes the former Sunderland frontman has turned the corner following his strike in last weekend’s FA Cup draw with Norwich.

He said: “I thought Darren did extremely well and I’m sure that goal will give him confidence. He worked hard and kept going and getting in behind. The goal he took was excellent. He did ever so well.

“He came from a bad period at Villa. [Paul] Lambert was quite clear and injected the team with energy and youthfulness. [Christian] Benteke came in, who was a different type of striker.

“Darren hasn’t started many games but there are no issues with fitness levels. I don’t see any signs of that in training and I don’t get any signals from the medical department. He’s a bright lad and trains with a smile on his face.”



http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fulham-boss-hopes-bent-firing-6489726?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2014, 11:34:17 AM »
 
New Deal For Marcus

Fulham Football Club is delighted to announce that Marcus Bettinelli has signed a two-year extension to his contract, which will keep him at Craven Cottage until 30th June 2016.

The goalkeeper, 21, has spent time on the Fulham bench this season as back-up to David Stockdale following Maarten Stekelenburg’s injury, having impressed on loan at Accrington Stanley.

Bettinelli had been a key component of James Beattie’s side, and a string of confident displays between the sticks helped Stanley in no small part as they climbed out of the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone and up the table.

The youngster is now back at the Store First Stadium on an emergency loan deal until Thursday 30th January.



http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/january/10/new-deal-for-marcus?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2014, 11:35:40 AM »
 
Fulham v Sunderland preview
Fulham are likely to shuffle their pack again for a home date with Sunderland, having offered game time to youngsters and fringe players in their 1-1 FA Cup third round draw at Norwich.



Clint Dempsey: Poised to make second Premier League bow

Clint Dempsey made his second debut for the club in that contest, after joining on a short-term loan, while Darren Bent was back among the goals and both men will be hoping to have done enough to retain their starting berths.

The likes of Scott Parker, Damien Duff and Dimitar Berbatov will be among those pushing for recalls, while there is a chance that goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (ankle) and defender Matthew Briggs (hernia) could come back into contention. Brede Hangeland is, however, still nursing a back complaint.

Steven Fletcher is set to keep his place in Sunderland's starting line-up after shrugging off a slight knock sustained in the midweek cup win over Manchester United.

Black Cats boss Gus Poyet does not expect any fresh injury concerns and could keep faith in the side that secured their 2-1 first-leg win, although Adam Johnson is pushing for a recall after being singled out by Poyet for special praise.

Poyet is without midfielder Cabral who has moved to Genoa on loan until the end of the season, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.



http://www.football365.com/match/3632010/preview?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2014, 11:37:15 AM »
 
Fan Focus: Chatting With The Cottagers



For this week's Fan Focus we turn to our SB Nation brethren and allow Andrew Beck from Cottagers Confidential to give us the low down on Fulham.

Fulham haven't had the greatest of seasons so far, has it been as disappointing as everyone makes out?

Andrew Beck: Well if you told me at the beginning of the season Fulham would be 4 points out of 10th place at this point, I wouldn't have been shocked. If you told me they would be in 16th place I wouldn't have been shocked (though I would have been a little perturbed). The fact that only 5 points separates 10th and 17th is quite shocking though and proves that just about anyone in the bottom half of the table could go down.

The biggest problem with Fulham's season so far has been the demoralizing nature of some of the losses. We've been absolutely blown out a few times and didn't even look there was an offensive plan at others. If you take a step back though and just treat a loss like a loss and a win like a win, the season hasn't been that bad. If you just take out the last minute loss to Cardiff and the last minute draw to West Brom, all of a sudden Fulham are in 10th place and no one is fretting at all.

Was it the right decision to get rid of Martin Jol?

AB: Yes. I'm usually not one to blame the manager, but he simply didn't look like he had a plan any more. He was continuously using players out of position, afraid to start any of the youth, and basically conceding games against bigger clubs before the match even started. He was managing like he wanted to leave.

I think if the true story ever comes out, he was hoping to skate through the year, bring in Meulensteen as the Head Coach and then move up to be the Technical Director. However, he mucked things up so bad that it wasn't possible. Instead the club went and hired Alan Curbishley to be the TD.

Now of course you have Rene Meulensteen. Someone I actually wanted to be the boss here when Paolo Di Canio left. What's he been like so far?

AB: So far he's been great. The team has only looked awful once since he took over and that was an away fixture over the holiday period after an away win and before two winnable home fixtures. I think he may have punted that match as soon as the team got down.

He's done all the things you wish Jol had done. He's been tactically flexible. He's played a 4-3-3, a 4-2-3-1, a 4-5-1, and even what might be called a 4-6-0. That last formation was used to great effect to frustrate Man City on our smaller than average pitch.

He's also using players in the right positions and isn't afraid to use the youth. Four of our academy graduates got a debut in the FA Cup match last week. If he can keep the team up, I think the future is bright.

What do you make of bringing in Ray Wilkins and Alan Curbishley?

AB: I'm pretty happy with the Curbishley hire. I've been a proponent of having a Technical Director and a Head Coach working together and both reporting to the CEO for some time. I think the days of one manager being in charge of everything are long gone.

I'm a bit more agnostic about the Wilkins hire. I think he'll make a fine assistant, but I wonder if it was more of a hedge in case the club goes down and Meulensteen doesn't want to manage a Championship club.

On the pitch, who has been Fulham's stand out man this season?

AB: For me, the standout has been Pajtim Kasami.

He's a player that has always been hyped, but never really got a chance. Then last year he was loaned out to the Swiss league where he didn't set the world on fire. He only started the first match of the season this year due to injuries to others, but you probably remember how that worked. Since then he's been a great passer, a hard worker, a willing tackler, and someone who's not afraid to shoot. I don't know if he's been the best Fulham player, but he's been the one who made the greatest leap.

Who has been the most disappointing?

AB: Is it fair to say a player who's barely plaid at all? Fulham's defense has been atrocious this year. And much of that can be laid at the feet of Brede Hangeland. He's barely played and when he did he was slowed by injury. I'm hoping that taking the time off to get surgery and heel will do wonders for him and the Fulham defense when he returns.

Who will Fulham be looking at in the January transfer window to try and pull you out of the mire?

AB: Fulham have seemingly been linked to every player Meulensteen had a relationship with at Manchester United.

I think the team needs a creative box to box central midfielder or deep lying playmaker to take some of the offensive pressure off of Scott Parker. Giorgos Karagounis has done well there, but I don't think he can stand up for a full season. I'd also like to bring in another defender. The club has been linked to a few, and I was hoping for Michael Bradley until today's surprise announcement.

I'd also like to bring in a central defender or left back. If the team is confident Hangeland will return strong and recently recalled Dan Burn can solidify the center, I'd go with a left back. The team has been linked to Ryan Bertrand and Alex Buttner.

Everyone is clamoring for a striker, but I don't necessarily see the need. The team hasn't been that bad at scoring goals, and since Meulensteen took over they've been creating chances at a more than adequate rate. However, if they do sell Berbatov, I reserve the right to change my answer.

Where on the pitch do you think this weekend's game will be won and lost?

AB: Fulham's defense will decide the game. If they play ok, I think Fulham win. If they implode (which has happened a few times), I think things could get ugly.

What's your prediction for the game?

AB: I'd guess a 2-1 win for Fulham.



http://rokerreport.sbnation.com/2014/1/10/5289376/fan-focus-chatting-with-the-cottagers?


Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2014, 11:38:32 AM »
 
Predicting Progression

Alexander Kačaniklić predicts progression for both himself and the team over the coming months.

And the 22-year-old points to the arrival of René Meulensteen as Fulham’s Head Coach as the catalyst.

Kačaniklić tells Saturday’s official matchday programme: “I’ve really enjoyed working with René. Although he hasn’t been with us for long, I can see that progress has been made.

“He’s very technical, and he has a proven track record of bringing the best out of players. I’ll learn a lot from him, and I’m sure that he can help make me become a better player, particularly in terms of adding more goals to my game.”

Meulensteen oversees his ninth match from the Whites’ dugout on Saturday afternoon. Out of the bottom three and playing with renewed vigour under the Dutchman’s guidance, Kačaniklić is adamant that Fulham are heading in the right direction.

Defeat of West Ham United at the Cottage on New Year’s Day was an all-important three points; victory over Sunderland will be equally as vital.

“Everyone knew that the game against West Ham was a massive one, and a match that we needed to win,” explained Alexander. “I think everyone expected more this season - the fans, staff and the players. It’s been a strange campaign, and we’ve found ourselves in the relegation zone for most of the season - which isn’t good enough.

“Sunderland are also fighting for points at the bottom, so this is another massive game. We need to get the win, and I really think that we will - we’re determined to get the team into a better position.

“I think we’re moving forwards now. Some people have asked if we’re starting to see what René Meulensteen’s Fulham is all about after nine or 10 games. For me, we saw what his side is all about in his first game against Tottenham Hotspur.”

To read the full interview with Kačaniklić, pick up an official matchday programme on Saturday.

Other key content in the only matchday magazine that matters - which is available to download digitally from 9am on Saturday - include:

Chairman Shahid Khan looks ahead to a prosperous 2014
René Meulensteen pens his regular programme notes
Ashkan Dejagah takes the Fulham 50 challenge
Bjarne Goldbaek recalls a famous win over Sunderland in 2001
Former Whites and Black Cats defender Andy Melville assesses Saturday’s game
And Ray Houghton is Yesterday’s Hero
Priced £3.50, the 84-page publication is available from various sellers on Stevenage Road from two hours before kick-off. Fans can also order copies directly from www.programmemaster.com

The programme is also available as an app with added video content from 9am on Saturday via Apple’s Newsstand or Pocketmags. You can subscribe for the whole season for the digital edition or buy a single issue for £1.99.



http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/january/10/prog-plug?

Offline whitejc

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Re: Friday Fulham Stuff (10/01/14)...
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2014, 02:45:10 PM »
 
Could Dimitar Berbatov really do a job for Arsenal?

Twitter went into meltdown, emotions were riled and abuse was fired as the majority of Arsenal fans reacted to the rumour about Dimitar Berbatov possibly joining, with: "We don't want a former Tottenham Hotspur player."

I get that. We have our loyalty but, most of the time, that loyalty is blind.

Did none of you want Sol Campbell?

Sometimes you have to take off your red tinted glasses and think about the situation from purely a footballing point of view rather than beating your chest and proclaiming how much better we are compared to Spurs – the answer is so much.

My initial reaction when I saw us being linked with the Fulham striker was 'Would that really work out?'

One attribute of this Arsène Wenger side is its work ethic, its hustling and harrying of the opposition, pressing high up the pitch and basically giving the opponents no time on the ball.

That hardly screams Dimitar Berbatov to you, does it!?

I actually think it is something of a myth that the former Manchester United striker is lazy.

For some reason, the British football fans love a trier the likes of Dirk Kuyt, Park Ji-Sung and Jamie Mackie adhere themselves to the majority, but why? Just because they chase a lost cause that still trickles out for corner but because they are within a shoelace of controlling it is worth a round of applause?

Sure Berbatov is casual and languid in his style of play but that doesn't make him lazy.

Now, don't get me wrong I love Olivier Giroud and the enthusiasm he shows. However, sometimes this season I've felt he has tried too hard to score. His desire to have receive the ball has often found him out of position.

If Berbatov were to join, you know he'd be in and around the penalty area, which is of course, where you want your strikers.

At £2 million Berbatov could prove to be an absolute steal. He wouldn't threaten the long-term career of Giroud but would offer us a different outlet. The former Bayer Leverkusen striker would be a great option from the bench, in a tight game, much like Dennis Bergkamp, he can conjure up a moment of magic when it doesn't seem possible.

I'd be curious to find out how Berbatov would perform and I think, that maybe, just maybe, it would be a surprising success story.


http://arsenal-mania.com/articles/3110656/Could-Dimitar-Berbatov-really-do-a-job-for-Arsenal.html?