Carlos Bocaengra was delighted to keep a clean sheet as Fulham registered their first win of the season against Everton – and hopes his injury woes are now a thing of the past.
The American international was a risky selection at centre back having missed all of pre-season with an untimely knee problem but Bocanegra told Fulham’s official website that he jumped at the chance of playing in his natural position when Chris Coleman asked him to after injuries ruled out Ian Pearce and Alain Goma.
“In terms of pure fitness it was alright. But my timing with passes, my touch and general sharpness wasn’t quite there. But I’ll get used to that through playing. It was just nice to be back. I could run with my injury so that wasn’t really a problem. It was just the soccer part of it. With my injury I hadn’t been able to kick or make any sharp turns. Like I said, in terms of fitness I had a good base and the match wasn’t too demanding physically. But the soccer side will come.”
Bocanegra is hoping to get a run in the start as a centre half after Niclas Jensen’s encouraging start to his Fulham career.
“Niclas has come in a done a good job for us at left back. The manager bought me as a centre back and he’s told me all along that I’m a centre back so it was just a matter of time. I’ve had to wait and now it’s my time. Hopefully I can stay in there a do a good job for the team.”
The powerful defender was pleased that Fulham ground out a victory against a tough Everton side despite not being at their best.
“Once we scored I think we played with a lot more confidence. Obviously they threw a lot of bodies forward at the end and we were all taking a few deep breaths. Our passing wasn’t the best but we fought hard and Brian had another good game up front. He’s been on fire, even with the US team he scored when we were last home. I don’t know how many goals he got in the last few games of last season but he’s just continued his form. He knows that the manager is confident with him so that helps a lot. He’s just showing everyone what he can do.”