Roy Hodgson described Erik Nevland as ‘a vitally important player’ after the Norwegian scored Fulham’s crucial first goal in their 3-0 win over Blackburn at Craven Cottage.
The veteran striker, who doesn’t start many league games for Fulham, made the most of his chance with a clinical finish towards the end of a first half that the visitors had dominated. Nevland’s goal gave Fulham the impetus to push on and secure a comfortable victory on the back of a much improved second half showing.
Hodgson was full of praise for Nevland’s impact, emphasising just how important it was for him to come to the party tonight.
At the moment he is not a back-up because we’ve got serious problems as one of our strikers has been operated on and is out for two or three weeks, and another one has been out now for almost two months.
Erik Nevland is becoming vitally important, but I must say he has been vitally important for us during the two years I’ve been at the club.
He’s got that ability to score very important goals and there’s no doubt today the goal, which came against the run of play as they were more in our half than we were in their half, really set us up on the road to victory.
Hodgson was particularly pleased with the way Fulham ground out their victory after a slow start.
It was fairly difficult to come to terms with the number of times the ball was in the air and the amount of heading duels the back players had to deal with, and they did it very well.
They pushed up well after the long ball forward, but they didn’t, fortunately for us, create any real goalscoring chances from it and we were fortunate enough to score with a good move, but with our first real dominant attack of the game.
In the second half we did a little bit better and in the end ran out easy winners. But when I say easy winners, the scoreline shows us easy winners, but we know it was nothing like an easy victory, it was a very, very tough victory.
It’s one I’m very proud of because we had to stand up to a barrage of long balls and challenges to deal with, which we did, and then we had to try and make certain on the odd occasions we could get the ball down on to the floor to play we did that. I thought that’s what gave us the victory in the end