Jamie O’Hara hailed a complete first-half performance as Fulham swept aside QPR in the west London derby at Loftus Road on Saturday.
The midfielder felt Slavisa Jokanovic’s decision to switch to a 5-3-2 formation surprised the hosts and Fulham took full advantage of their numerical advantage in midfield, overwhelming QPR with the ball and on the scoreboard as they raced into a three-goal lead by half-time. The experienced midfielder has called on his team-mates to use Jokanovic’s first victory as Fulham head coach as a springboard for the remainder of the season as the Whites try and climb the Championship table.
Speaking to the club’s official website shortly after the final whistle, O’Hara’s euphoria was tangible.
It was a great day. We were brilliant first half. We’ve got that in the team, we’ve got the ability. We need to kick on now with two massive games coming up against Blackburn and Charlton. Our fans were brilliant, they kept us going. It was a fantastic day for everyone involved with the club, the fans especially.
He paid particular credit to Jokanovic for his bravery in dispensing with the 4-4-2 system that had delivered a decent point against Derby a week ago. As well as giving O’Hara license to roam from midfield, the tweaks freed up Tom Cairney into a more advanced role and also helped make Fulham far more defensively secure than in recent weeks.
The tactical change just worked wonders for us. It gave us more bodies in midfield and allowed me and Tom to get forward and maybe take our mind off defensive duties a little bit. We were just getting on the ball with Scotty sitting and we tore them apart.
The gaffer wanted me and Tom to stay high and Scotty to anchor. Me and Tom kept finding holes and finding pockets, Moussa was stretching them and Ross was getting on the ball; everything just came together.
It’s been frustrating for the gaffer who’s had to wait for his first win until now. But he changed the formation on Saturday and fair play to him for being brave to do that.
O’Hara was quick to point out that the decisive derby victory means little if Fulham can’t back it up and move away from the lower reaches of the table. He hopes Fulham’s form doesn’t dip again – like the aftermath of the crushing home victory over QPR earlier in the season – and is targeting a similar display at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night.
It’s a fantastic win but it’s just three points, we move on with two massive games coming up. When we last played QPR, we won 4-0 but then went and got beat 3-0 the next game. So we can’t afford to let that happen, we need to be consistent, stay strong, do things right and keep going.