Fulham defender Alain Goma is determined to deliver a performance for the fans to remember in the SW6 derby on Saturday – but knows just how tough it will be to get a result against Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea.
The French centre back recognises that the derby will likely be a cagey affair, devoid of the flowing football that Fulham fans have come to enjoy from Chris Coleman’s said for much of this season, and that any mistakes could be ruthlessly punished. He told the club’s official website:
“It’s going to be a tight game on Saturday. A really tough game. We’re very, very keen to do well, especially after losing to Leeds – it’s very important that we react well to that. And we realise how important it is to the fans that we do well. We want to do it for the supporters, but sometimes in derby games like this it’s difficult to play football – they are too intense and there’s too much pressure. But we must keep playing our football and keep focussed on that no matter what else is going on around us.
Goma admitted that the announcement that Fulham will be ending their two-year exile at Loftus Road to return home for the start of the next season has boosted morale amongst the playing squad just as it has cheered the fans.
“The news that we are going back to the Cottage has given everyone a huge lift and it should make Saturday a very exciting occasion. Personally I felt very good at the Cottage; it had a very special atmosphere there and I think it will help the team to go back. It will make me very happy to do that.
He dismissed any suggestion that Chelsea might be easier to beat having lost two games in the space of four days – believing instead that the Blues will be more motivated to prove their Champions League credentials by returning to winning ways.
“I’m not sure that will have an effect our match. Regardless of recent results, this was always going to be a big, big game and one that they will take very seriously. I think that Claudio Ranieri has a lot of respect for our team so he will put out his best eleven and try to make things very difficult for us.
I know we let in three goals last week, but before that we’ve been strong defensively. Chelsea haven’t scored a lot of goals, but they generally manage to score enough to win their games – what they are is very strong defensively, and the difficulty for us is that they have very good individual players all over the pitch who are able to score goals and change the game.
We can’t focus on just one or two of their players as being the dangermen – it’s the whole team. I have been surprised that they’ve done so well so quickly. Even with quality players you still need time to develop team spirit, but they’ve managed to do it very quickly. But overall I think we can get something out of the game. Everybody here knows that we have to do something positive after last week’s result and I’m sure that we can do that.”