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Fulham’s seaside excursion turned into something of a nightmare on Saturday. The convenient excuses about the international break, injuries or even the impact of Marco Silva being named manager of the month don’t account for why Blackpool were quite so dominant at Bloomfield Road. Neil Critchley’s side, without a league win before the weekend, thoroughly merited the three points. They were first to every ball, energetic in their hassling and harrying that disrupted Fulham’s passing game and looked dangerous in attack from the outset. As bad days at the office go, this was a disaster.

Silva, who has had something approaching the perfect start since he was installed as Scott Parker’s successor at Craven Cottage, has to take a good deal of the blame for Fulham’s first defeat. He has seen his squad strengthened so that it bears comparison with any other in the division, but eschewed the opportunity to freshen up his starting line-up after the likes of Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson only returned from central America late on Thursday. Both looked ropey and should have snuffed out the danger for the decisive goal. Surely Alfie Mawson and Joe Bryan would have been chomping at the bite for a chance.

There should be concern too about the ongoing vulnerability of Paulo Gazzaniga in goal. The statistics show that the Argentine conceded from the Tangerines only shot on target and he should never have been beaten at his near post by Josh Bowler’s improvised finish. The winger was Blackpool’s most potent threat all afternoon – and, although the defending that allowed him to saunter in from the right flank completely unattended left a lot to be desired, Gazzaniga has now conceded several soft goals in a season where Fulham’s defence has yet to be put under concerted bombardment.

The ugly truth is that the home side could – and perhaps should – have been well ahead before half time. Fulham’s game is built on solid distribution from the back, something that was sorely missing on Saturday. They continually coughed the ball up in dangerous areas, with one such mistake from Ream requiring Gazzaniga to slide tackle Tyreece John-Jules well outside his area, and the previously peerless partnership of Josh Onomah and Jean-Michael Seri seemed sedate when comparison with Blackpool’s busy Ryan Wintle and Kevin Stewart.

Fulham were flat on the flanks and up front as well. Ivan Cavaleiro set the tone for another below average afternoon when he spurned a good chance from a swift counter-attack in the third minute by firing wildly wide of goal and Neeskens Kebano’s exclusion appears harsh when he has delivered some of the consistent displays in a white shirt under Silva. You’d have to file Domingos Quina’s debut in ‘the quickly forgettable’ pile, although plenty of players have recovered from shocking starts to become heroes even in recent history. Perhaps the only bright spark came from Rodrigo Muniz, who looked lively in his ten minutes off the bench, but even the Brazilian spurned a couple of chances as Fulham belatedly laid siege to the Blackpool goal.

It was clear that the Whites badly missed the creativity of Fabio Carvalho, still struggling to shake off the ankle problem first sustained last month, and Harry Wilson, who couldn’t be risked after a head injury that saw him substituted for Wales. The pair have added an energy and zest to Fulham’s forward play that was badly lacking last season, but it was still disconcerting to see how disjointed our approach play became in their absence. Aleksandar Mitrovic was left feeding on scraps again – and you couldn’t possibly make a case for the visitors deserving anything on a day when they were comprehensively outplayed.

The good thing is that opportunities to put such an insipid display in the past come around quickly in the Championship. The smugness that accompanied Fulham’s awesome August in some quarters can now be set aside – as we’ve referenced countless times already during this campaign, nothing is won in the early weeks of the season. Silva has spoken about this being a learning opportunity for his squad and we’ll learn a lot about their desire and capacity for responding to adversity against in-form Birmingham on Wednesday. Fulham can’t afford a second slip up.