Denis Odoi saluted Fulham’s spirit as they earned another hard fought victory at Norwich City to maintain their promotion push yesterday afternoon.
The Belgian defender, once again preferred to Tomas Kalas at centre back in Slavisa Jokanovic’s starting line-up, revealed that the head coach’s half-time team talk was essential in calming a few Fulham players down after the first 45 minutes didn’t go to plan and a couple of tactical tweaks made all the difference after the break. Odoi hasn’t given up hope on closing ‘a pretty big gap’ to Cardiff City in second, but reaffirmed just how much confidence the Whites’ seventeen-match unbeaten streak has given to the team.
He told FulhamFCTV after the final whistle at Carrow Road:
We’ve been on a really good run. We’ve had great games. We’ve had games where we showed great play in the first half and less than in the second half – I’m thinking about QPR, which wasn’t our best performance in the second half and obviously today we wanted to show that we were in good form. The first half wasn’t as satisfying as we wanted it and we talked that, in the second half, it needs to be better. We adjusted a few things and I think we showed in the second half that we’re a good team.
We needed to make a few adjustments. For some reason, there was a bit of a negative atmosphere. Also, I think because we had two weeks off we were in a really good flow and we lost that feeling of the momentum that we were in and we just needed to remind each other that we were sixteen games unbeaten and there’s no need for negativity. Even if we lose a ball, that happens – anybody can lose a ball – we just work for each other, help each other. We went out in the second half and put on a better performance.
Odoi also felt that the two goals coming in quick succession in the second half – the strikes from Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney arrived within four minutes of each other – finally knocked the stuffing out of a stubborn Norwich side.
I think we had the better of the second half but you never know, if it’s still 0-0 then they don’t need much to score a goal. The first goal gave us some relief and then the second goal followed really quickly. Then it was just a matter of keeping the focus and trying not to concede.