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In years past, Fulham conceding the goals in the manner they did so against Leeds would’ve led to a gutless acceptance of loss and it’s credit to Scott Parker that his squad show grit and character to fight back into the game, even if ultimately fruitless and a disappointing final 10 minutes saw Fulham struggle to retain possession and get into the Leeds final third rather than the push for the equaliser typical of these endings.

Scott Parker’s side has heart, it has fight but it ultimately lacks quality in vital positions to be positive about safety. The Premier League transfer window has about three weeks left to deal with the rest of the world with a Premier League and EFL only window remaining open from the 5th October to the 16th. We didn’t need two Premier League games to know that we needed help in the middle of the back four but Michael Hector’s early performances may lead to thoughts of whether actually need two? It’s absolutely imperative that the majority of the remaining transfer budget is spent on improving the quality in central defence. Whether that’s tempting someone like Chris Smalling to return to the club or attracting Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah (both rumoured this summer), I don’t mind, but sooner rather than later would be beneficial before a hole is dug that we simply can not overcome.

It’s easy to be pessimistic after two games, no points to show for it and seven goals conceded but I think there are some positives. Kenny Tete looks a terrific player and will make it hard for Ola Aina to get into the team at right back, a second gorgeous delivery to assist Aleksandar Mitrovic in as many games as well as a solid defensive showing where Jack Harrison was anonymous is promising. At the other full back position, Joe Bryan might be playing his best football since starting at the club despite that moment of madness in giving away the penalty so soon after the equaliser but his alternate, Antonee Robinson is another promising player with the athleticism and play style to shine at the top.

In midfield, Harrison Reed is looking less dominant as a defensive force but is still doing fine. It’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa who provides the star power in midfield with his ball recovery, progressive dribbling and distribution that shone at Elland Road and may have been a fairly unanimous man of the match decision if the club was still doing the fan vote. With Mario Lemina in rotation for one of those two roles, the big hole is currently the most advanced as Josh Onomah has been a bit slow to Premier League football and yet to do anything of note and question marks are there around Tom Cairney’s athletic qualities to be the same creative force at the top, especially when quite so one footed.

The three in behind Aleksandar Mitrovic could do with work in general. It wasn’t until Neeskens Kebano’s reintroduction after lockdown did we get anything of note from the flanks in the Championship and he’s already found himself back on the bench. Getting some speed for the counter and quality in the final third is imperative in games where Fulham may not get so much of the ball and need to make the most of the counter attack game.

Scott Parker spoke post game about it not necessarily being a training thing, the desire to defend has to come from inside, the red alert has to come on for situations like set pieces and I don’t think he’s wrong. Bringing in superior quality and a champion mentality would help – Fulham’s most senior players in age and experience are Tim Ream and Kevin McDonald, whilst both will go down in Fulham folklore, they are ultimately Championship players. It’s time for Fulham to have that figure or two that have been there, done it, got the t-shirt and all those other cliches. It’s happened throughout football history how one player with high standards and high quality benefits the rest of the changing room, the first coming to mind is Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal, it’s time for Fulham to find that presence and we go again. But until we improve the middle of defence and the three in behind Aleksandar Mitrovic, it’s going to be a long, long season, no matter how hard we fight.