Sone Aluko admitted his team-mates were disappointed not to come away from Loftus Road with all three points – but felt Fulham showed impressive character to fight back and earn a draw against an ‘aggressive’ QPR side yesterday.
The Hounslow-born forward won an early penalty which Chris Martin missed only for the Scottish striker to make amends with a clever close-range finish to cancel out Ryan Manning’s first professional goal for QPR. Aluko told FulhamTV that the mood in the dressing room after the final whistle was downbeat after the visitors failed to make their large spells of possession pay:
We’re a bit disappointed. We dominated the game in large spells. Obviously, we gave away a cheap goal, missed a penalty, so we had chances to win the game, but end of the day it is better than a loss. It was a tough game, they were very aggressive. They tried to put it forward, they were physical, but we rode the storm and then we got a goal in the end.
I think it was a lot of factors. They were aggressive, the pitch didn’t help us – the way we want to play, it wasn’t the best conditions. We’ve going to get that in some games when teams are going to go the aggressive route against us, we’ve got to earn the right to play. We can’t just turn up and say we’re a good footballing team. We’ll learn from it and, at the end of the day, a point is a good result.
Aluko revealed that head coach Slavisa Jokanovic calmed the Fulham players down at half-time and stressed the need to keep passing the ball to probe for openings in the QPR defence, which ensured that heads didn’t drop after Kevin McDonald’s costly error led to the Whites falling behind.
He didn’t say an awful lot to be honest. He talked more about [the need to] keep playing our football, the style of play and don’t drop heads because we’re 1-0 down. The way we’re going to score goals is to keep passing it around, so he was very relaxed at half time. It was good, he calmed the team down and we went out there and tried to get a goal – and eventually, we did that.
Attention now shifts to the trip to Reading on Tuesday night with Aluko and the rest of the Fulham squad back in at Motspur Park this morning to begin their preparations for the rearranged game against Jaap Stam’s side. The Nigerian international is expecting a different type of test from the Royals, who will be keen to avenge last month’s 5-0 defeat at Craven Cottage.
We’re back in [training] tomorrow. We’ll do our analysis of the game, we’ll have a look at the game and get ready for Tuesday. Again, it will be another good game against another good team – and another away game. We’re looking forward to it. QPR are different in that they looked to get the ball long and get in behind us. Reading are similar to us with their style of play. It will be another good game, we turned them over at home, but they’re not going to let that happen again away from home, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.