John Pantsil’s been speaking to the official site. It’s good stuff, particularly on Roy Hodgson.
I’m very proud and happy about our performance last season. The team and players as individuals played very well and we’re now looking towards Europe. The season before last, the club was looking like it was going down but people always learn from their mistakes.
When I joined Fulham I wanted to be part of the club’s history. I’m very pleased for the club, the fans and everyone around the place – we have worked together and have come a long way.
I was confident that we would do better than the season before. The manager made us play with discipline. And any team that plays with discipline will always go far – you cannot be a team without it. We always went out to do our best and always listened to the manager’s instructions.
The manager is a big believer in discipline. He doesn’t believe in players getting yellow and red cards, he always wants his players to stay on their feet and play according to the referee’s whistle.
He doesn’t want his players to challenge the referee, when the referee calls a foul, we have to leave the ball and no one challenges the referee – we must do everything according to the referee’s instructions.
We must also respect our opponents. I don’t think every manager gives these instructions to his players, some can tell you to go and kick legs. But I’ve never heard him telling us to fight our opponents or the referee.
Missing from the interesting discussion about discipline is any mention of Pantsil’s disgraceful play-acting at Stoke. I, for one, was pleased that Hodgson apparently took Pantsil aside and rebuked him for his behaviour. Thankfully, we haven’t seen any more of it since.
Optimism seems plentiful ahead of next season, but Pantsil himself sounds a timely warning.
Next season is going to be tough for us. Teams will look at us now and will think they need to be careful against us. The other clubs will know that we are a good team so they will be aggressive and strong. We will have a big task in front of us.
Pantsil was probably the biggest surprise of the season. He wasn’t a particularly heralded arrival and plenty of people expressed concern that we signing another West Ham cast-off. Hodgson’s obviously worked on the defensive side of his game on the training ground and the hard graft has paid off. Most impressive of all – and particularly important to the way we play with our narrow midfield – was how comfortable he was in possession and was eager to get forward.
Let’s hope he can kick on again next season.