Kit Symons praised his side’s spirit after they battled back from a goal down at Birmingham to record Fulham’s first win of the season this afternoon.
Second half strikes from Tim Hoogland and Hugo Rodallega secured a 2-1 victory at St. Andrew’s and helped lift the Whites off the bottom of the Championship table. Symons saluted his players self-belief and determination after they produced a much-improved second half display to turn the match on its head.
I’m absolutely delighted for the players, for the fans and for the whole football club. Winning breeds confidence and gives you momentum. That’s what we’ve got now, two wins on the spin, and we need to build on it.
It’s a start, and that’s all it is. But it’s a great start to have. Belief was the word we spoke about before the game, and at half-time, because I don’t think we really showed the belief in the first half but in the second half we showed it in abundance. We’ve got really quality in this group but we’ve got real character as well, and when you get the two together, you’ve got a chance.
Symons admitted he had to tell a few home truths in the dressing room at half time after a lacklustre and disappointing display was punished by David Cotterill’s fine strike seven minutes before the break.
[I told them to] liven up a bit because we didn’t get going at all. Our defending was a little bit loose and our passing was absolutely awful. We were overplaying in the wrong areas and it was a poor first-half performance. Birmingham were the better side and they deserved their lead.
But the players took on board what we told them at half-time, what we asked them to do differently, and they came out and did it fantastically well. We got two goals and then we could have got a couple more. Although they were pushing for the equaliser, our goal looked pretty solid, pretty safe and we looked more likely to score the next goal as well.
In the three games since I’ve taken over, we seem to do either very well first half and drop off in the second half or the other way. If we could actually start playing well for 90 minutes of football, it’d be a doddle this job but unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that.
Symons saved special praise for the performance of Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli who kept the Cottagers’ in the contest with a string of fine saves.
Marcus is an excellent keeper, we’ve known that for a long, long time. He been thrown in the first team maybe earlier than he would have imagined, and maybe we imagined. But he’s been given an opportunity and he’s taken it, and sometimes that’s the way things work out.
He can’t do a lot more than that, a penalty save to win us the cup game on Tuesday night and an inspired performance today. He’ll be very pleased, and I’m very pleased with him.