Fulham aim to put last week’s 4-0 home thrashing by Arsenal firmly behind them when they travel to Goodison Park to face Everton in their quest for a first away victory of the season.
The prospect of going through the season without a win on the road is growing, but assistant manager Steve Kean insists the players must not dwell on the mauling by the Gunners which ended their nine-match unbeaten home run.
“It depends how you deal with it. If you pull it to bits for three or four days and talk only about that you can build a monster,” explained Kean.
“We spoke about the Arsenal game and everybody can see that when they are on – as they showed against Real Madrid – they are very hard to beat.
“That was the only time this season at home that we have been well and truly beaten and you have to hold your hands up and say that Arsenal, on that form, would beat most teams in the league so I don’t think we’ve destroyed the confidence we’ve had from our home form.
“You’ve got to turn your focus to the next game because that’s the only one you can control.
“The other one’s history so you put that down to experience and move on. We’ve talked about the goals we conceded, put that one to bed and focused on watching the tapes and doing a lot of homework on Everton.”
Defensive changes are on the cards, whether or not left-back Wayne Bridge, who has defied all predictions by returning to training this week, completes his remarkable recovery from the ankle ligament injury sustained playing for England in the 2-1 victory over Uruguay only a week and a half ago.
“I don’t think we can just wheel out the team and say ‘okay, you lost 4-0 so you owe us a performance,’ and not do any work on it,” Kean added.
“Some players are at the point where they might benefit from having a rest and coming out of it but others are that disappointed that they would really have liked the opportunity of the game against Everton being the next day rather than in a week’s time.
“It’s about recognising who is going to respond in a positive manner and who, from their body language and speaking to them, would benefit from a rest.”
While manager Chris Coleman, who is determined to defy a virus and take his place on the bench at Goodison Park, and his coaching staff try to assess the mindset of their players, Kean insists the stark contrast between Fulham’s home results and their away form is not a psychological one.
“Everybody seems to think we’ve got a psychological problem but we’ve not,” he added. “We’re always positive going into games. We look at the patterns of play and the good and the bad points of other teams we’re going to play and come up with a game plan and the players understand it.
“The word we’ve used this week is resilient, be more resilient, be more solid, keep ourselves in the game, maybe don’t go chasing the game to get the first goal too early on and leave ourselves open at the back.
“We’ve got to be sensible. You look at Everton and they’ve got 10 clean sheets so they’re hard to break down. They’ve won six of their home games, lost six and drawn one.
“Their home form early on this season was poor but they’ve certainly picked up because they’ve only lost one game out of the last eight.
“With the players we’ve got, the pace and the power we’ve got in the team, it can certainly be used. But, through the back unit and the midfield, we certainly must be more solid away from home.”