He’s a clever player. He gets those little fouls and pulls that the referee doesn’t see and that’s why he’s won a World Cup, that’s why he’s one of the best defenders in the world.
But I really enjoyed it and thought I did well against him. I held the ball up well at times and made him work.
Our man’s right. Canavarro is one of the best defenders in the world and very impressive in the air for a guy who isn’t even 6ft tall. But Bobby gave him a really good game, battling for everything and making some intelligent runs that, with a bit more luck, could have bought greater rewards – especially in a much tighter second half.
This game also reminded what I didn’t like about the Italian footballing philosophy. Defending is an art form in Italy but at set plays they’ll stop you anyway they can. In the first leg alone, Zamora was kicked from pillar to post and Canavarro ruffled his hair cheekily in that way that people do when they know they committed a bad foul. At corners and free kicks, Juve defenders concentrated on blocking off Fulham attackers rather than watching the ball. One such incident denied Hangeland a goal as Legrottaglie yanked at his shirt, denying him the necessary leverage to head the ball into the far corner.
The thing that surprised me about the Juve defence was how slow and disorganised they were. Fulham had a lot of joy from crosses in the second period and a couple of quick breaks caused the home defence problems. With the Italians short of defenders and likely to have to play their third choice keeper, who helped them blow a 3-0 lead against rock bottom Siena on Sunday.
There’s no doubt Hodgson will go for it on Thursday, though I don’t he’ll throw caution to the wind from the first whistle. Bobby might just be the one smiling after this game.