Saw some tears on the way off, is this going to be a particularly tough one to bounce back from?
It’s a tough one to take, it’s not going to be a tough one to boucne back from. It’s a painful one tonight and you obviously see that at the end of the game, and the scenes at the end of the game how desperate this team are to be successful. I asked the team to show fight, desire, to leave everything on that pitch tonight and to a man, and I include the boys on the side, we did that. Cruel side of football sometimes.
I’m older than these players and I’ve not just had experiences in football but in life as well but what will be the deciding factor is at sometimes when you get put to the canvas, what the real character of someone is, is to get back up.
We’ve done that for large parts this year, when the chips are down and we’ve put down, we get back up and fight and that is the reason we’re in the position we’re in.
I understand people from the outside, and the narrative will be this was a must-win game, of course it was. Next week will be a must-win game as well. We’ve got ourselves in this position with a real fighting chance because of what I talk about and what you see at the end of the game.
A team that are desperate, a group of players that care passionately about us being successful this year and with that spirt and that desire you’ve always got a chance.
That will be our mantra and we will continue.
Painful, hurt and disappointed tonight. As always when this happens, you get your guard up and come out swinging. That’s what we’ll do.
Did you feel the team did enough football-wise to win?
I thought we did everything. Organised team, limited them to very few chances and then the longer the game goes on we commit more men,we want to win the game. The ball that drops either side doesn’t fall for us. The game has been decided in the last minute, the boy has run through at a tight angle and smashed one straight in. That’s painful of course.
My team done everything to nullify a very good side with talented players, and on the flip side tried their hardest to win the game.
How do you pick the team up?
It is a blow but that is not my worry. That is honestly not my concern. We have been in this situation and while tonight is one of the most painful this year in how the game has finished, there are other issues which we need to learn from.
Picking this team up, straight after the game in the changing rooms we’re deflated, we’re hurt. As always this team will come back stronger, come back fighting and we’ll go again.
What was missing in the final third?
Just the fine margins at the top end. Ruben’s chance in the first half, big chance. Huffed and puffed second half, a couple across the face. Even at the end, when they score we have a big chance to equalise and we’ve not managed to convert. That’s where we’ve fallen short.
At the end of the game you took time to yourself, is that to re-energise yourself for the battle ahead?
Yeah, of course, that’s exactly it. I’m gutted and mainly I’m gutted for the team and the group of players. I’m desperate for this group to do well and they’re desperate as well and I see that daily.
You only see that on a Saturday or a Friday night, I see this team constantly and I see how desperate they are to achieve and do well and I’m hurting for them. As quickly as this game will pass, we’ll be hurt and take that into tomorrow but then what happens from there is going to be the decider for us.
We get off the canvas, put our guard up and come jabbing. Can we go and win at Arsenal, of course we can. When people have written us at Liverpool and Leicester away, we’ve done that through the league, we’ve done that through resilience and that’s what gives me hope and belief that will be the case going into the final games.
Would Fulham have been helped by supporters in the stadium?
Our fans, if this one things we’ve missed immensley, it’s our fans. Of course, I think they could have helped us, it would have been that extra bit.
I hope that the fans are watching from afar, which they are and have had to, and have seen the journey this team have come on. I understand the disappointment, and I understand in the worl we live in it’s judged on a win or a loss, I hope they’re sitting at home really proud of this team. The scenes you see at the end of the game, it’s a team desperate to do well for themselves, and ultimately well for the football club. With that care you have a real chance.
We’ve certainly missed them, of course we have.