I thought I’d wake up this morning still feeling bitter about the manner of our defeat last night. But I didn’t. I felt proud of my Fulham. Proud of the team that’s come so far in the past few years that they could take on Roma on merit in a European competition. Not to mention outplay them for the first half at the Stadio Olimpico. Proud of the fans – apparently as many as 3,000 – who travelled in great spirits and made a hell of a noise, even when the game appeared lost. Proud of the players, who delivered a battling performance in adversity. And proud of the coaching staff, especially Roy, who didn’t lose it in a post-match interview like any number of Premier League managers I could mention, instead affording himself a joke and a smile at the situation.
There are numerous plus points from last night. We defended heroically again and without some key players were still very difficult to break down. The number of chances we managed to create was staggering. Hopefully, Diomansy Kamara isn’t out for too long with this niggling injury because he showed last night just what he’s about. Threatening running and an ability to produce something unexpected, only bettered on the night by the referee.
I’m not going to say too much about Kevin Blom, because I think what has already been said describes the situation accurately. Even before the sendings off, which were bizarre even allowing for the fact that European referees are a lot stricter than ours, it was a strange performance. He seemed quick to the whistle and eager to brandish cards. I’d love to see the report of his match assessor – who analyses the referee – and the assessment of Roy Hodgson, who also has to complete a report.
Although looking a lot more distant than it was before last night, qualification isn’t out of the question for Fulham. Now it’s up to the fans to get behind the team and pack the Cottage for our final home game against CSKA Sofia. A win against a depleted Russian side would keep the boys in with a shout – and we’ve got a good record in pulling off the unlikely under Hodgson.