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Edwin van der Sar couldn’t avoid the conclusion that referee Mark Halsey’s decisions were the deciding factor after Fulham’s defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

Halsey has come under immense scrutiny after reversing his decision to award Fulham a first half penalty and then ruling out Collins John’s goal just before half time. The Fulham goalkeeper told the club’s official website:

“You never know of course. But if you can go in at halftime with a one goal lead at home, then of course you’ve got a chance. They didn’t play particularly well – perhaps their boys were tired after the international matches, and I think it was a very good time for us to be playing them. But if you get a decision like that against you – the guys all said that John’s goal was good – then everyone is of course very upset.

And then in the second half perhaps we started to believe a little bit too much that we could win the game. That’s why we lost our shape a bit and the pitch became a little bit too long for us – and it’s at that moment that they attack. In the first half we didn’t give away too many chances, but in the second half we dropped too much and the pitch got stretched and the defenders dropped too much in the penalty area, and that’s why we gave them chances.”

The Dutch international is still confident that Fulham can bounce back from their disappointing start to the new season.

Of course it’s not the start we hoped for. The opening programme didn’t look too bad – there were a few home games that we could win, and some of the away games didn’t look that tough. But with five games gone we’ve got only four points. But our spirit is still strong and we have quality in the squad. What we have to do is take the positives and don’t panic too much. It’s an important game against West Bromwich on Saturday, and we definitely have to go for a win there.”