John Arne Riise admitted he should have taken at least one of his two second chances in last night’s goalless draw at Chelsea.
The Norwegian left back sprinted fully ninety yards to take a rapid Fulham counter-attack into the Chelsea penalty area ten minutes into the second half at Stamford Bridge but having latched onto Giorgis Karagounis’ raking pass failed to find the necessary power to beat Petr Cech. The Czech custodian was then able to turn aside a trademark Riise piledriver at his near post as the Whites pressed for a late winner.
I should have scored at least one. But I had a bad first control and the second one was a deflection and a great save by Petr. With that first chance I think I ran about 90 yards so I was quite tired by the end! I tried to chest it down to take the shot but the control was too close to my body and I couldn’t get a shot off, so I was disappointed.
Riise wasn’t surprised by Fulham’s competitive showing last night – pointing out that Fulham have always performed well away against their rivals in recent years – and last night’s point extended their unbeaten run in the SW6 derby to five games.
We’ve done well at the Bridge in recent years. It was a great team performance; we showed character and worked hard for each other and we’re really pleased with how we played the game.
We knew that the Chelsea team had a little bit of pressure on them before the match so we knew they probably needed to win to keep the fans happy, but our fans were simply fantastic. We heard them all game and especially in the second half when we had a few chances right in front of them; it was great support.
Riise played a full part in a disciplined defensive display as Chelsea’s attacking threats were nullified and Martin Jol’s gameplan was executed expertly.
We knew that they have some great players up front; technical players who like to see a pass that nobody else can see, so we needed to be compact. The back four worked really hard, the midfield worked really hard and also the guys up front, so it was a great team performance.
There was none of this season’s familiar frailty from either cross or set pieces as Fulham’s rearguard, led by the exceptional Aaron Hughes, stood firm throughout.
We stuck together and we knew they were going to try and get some crosses in. But we worked hard and we made so many blocks, it was unbelievable. They had shots from 20 yards and five yards but we blocked every single one so as a team we were happy and I think the gaffer was happy as well.