What a day. I’m just back to the house after a trip to Huddersfield were Fulham showed the Championship that they mean business under Marco Silva. My last game was our trip to the Etihad in the FA Cup at the start of 2020, so it was nearly emotional watching the boys march onto the pitch before kick-off.
Last season was just so awful. I think it was worse because we had to watch from home, gaping into our TV screens at empty, soulless stadiums, knowing that there was nothing we could do to try and give our team something to feed off. Players like Mitrovic are built for crowd interaction, and already we can see a big improvement in his play. I’m not saying that we went down last year because of no crowds, I’m just saying that it might not have been quite so embarrassing. Last season was poor for so many reasons but now, under a new manager, we seem to have been given the kiss of life.
Being on the concourse, taking in the sights and sounds of live football is fantastic. Making your way to your seat, being surrounded by the people you haven’t seen in over 18 months was heart-warming. Watching Fulham be utterly ruthless away from home was exhilarating.
After two games in the Championship no one has a 100% record. It’s a sign that no team will find it easy, but if we play like we did today every week, we can expect big things from this team. Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Huddersfield were hopeless. That first goal was an absolute comedy show and we aren’t going to get many gifts like that throughout the season. But it was our response to moments of a Huddersfield fightback that has impressed me most today. Firstly, when they scored their goal, it would have been very Fulhamish to allow them to get on top. Even though we were dominating before that, a goal can be all it takes to swing the momentum but instead we went straight up the other end and restored our two goal lead. Lovely build up play, and clinical finishing from Fabio Carvalho who has looked brilliant in the handful of games he has played since the end of last season. Then, when Harry Wilson was given his marching orders, again we could have seen a Huddersfield fightback. Last season we would have seen some sort of defensive change at that point. Hold what you have and all that, which so often resulted in us surrendering points, but Silva clearly doesn’t have the same coaching book that Scott Parker had been working from. Changes were made, but Cavaleiro was brought on to stretch the game, something he did within seconds, chipping over the Huddersfield keeper for our fourth of the day. And he bagged the fifth as well with another composed finish that we didn’t see enough of last season.
An incredibly satisfying day were Silva’s Fulham lay down a marker. It was wonderful to witness and it feels amazing that football and the fans have finally been reunited.