Bryan Ruiz has given an interview to the offal on how Fulham can beat FC Twente tomorrow night and secure a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
The Costa Rican winger, who made only his second league start for the Whites at Arsenal on Saturday, is ineligible for Thursday’s tie having played in European competition for Twente prior to joining Fulham at the end of August. He has, however, been able to pass on his knowledge of his former club to manager Martin Jol and his team-mates:
I think they will play very offensive because when Twente plays at home, they normally do that. They will try to press us and try to keep the ball, that’s one of the qualities Twente has.
I think we can win the game but we have to be really focused, defend well and also keep the ball when we have it. I think for sure we’ll have chances so we have to convert the chances we create.
We have to take care of Nacer Chadli, Luuk De Jong and Ola John and also Emir Bajrami – if those players play they are very good. Twente are not having the best season but they are doing well in the Europa League, they know that they are through – but they will like to finish well.
The Fulham supporters will help, when we have the supporters behind us we get extra motivation so, for sure it will help the players.
Stephen Kelly could make his return from a groin injury against FC Twente in Fulham’s latest Europa League tie on Thursday night.
The Irish full-back has played since picking up his groin problem in the Republic’s first-leg Euro 2012 play-off over Estonia earlier this month. But Martin Jol believes the 28 year-old, who was close to being involved in last weekend’s draw at Arsenal, will be fit enough to make the trip to the Netherlands this week.
Victory over Twente, who currently top Group K, would ensure Fulham’s place in the knockout stages of the competition. The tie is likely to come too early for Orlando Sa, who tore a hamstring during the defeat in Krakow earlier in the group phase, despite the Portuguese striker completing 90 minutes last night for the reserves against Chelsea. Sa scored and is likely to be back in contention for Monday’s league meeting with Liverpool.
Jol is definitely without Steve Sidwell as the midfielder continues to recover from a hernia operation.
In an interview with a Dutch football website, Bryan Ruiz has said he’ll need a little more time to shine in the Premier League.
The Costa Rican winger has endured a tough start to life in England following a £10.6m move from FC Twente on transfer deadline day. He was hauled off at half-time after an uncomfortable debut against Blackburn and missed a good chance to give Fulham a rare away win at West Brom, but impressed playing in a slightly deeper role before missing the crucial spot-kick as the Whites went out of the Carling Cup on penalties at Chelsea.
He feels he had slightly longer on the ball in Holland, giving him an extra second to assess his options, and admits he’s been surprised by just how aggressive the English game is. Opponents have frequently doubled up on Ruiz and denied him the freedom he used to enjoy with Twente. He finds himself often faced by two opponents, where there were more one-on-one contests in the Eredivisie. He’s still determined to prove his worth to the Craven Cottage faithful but has asked for more time to integrate into the side.
Bryan Ruiz says that a run in the first-team is all he needs to show just why Fulham spent more than £10m to bring him to the Premier League.
The Costa Rican has had a tough introduction to English football since his transfer deadline day switch from FC Twente after being hauled off at half-time on his debut against Blackburn, missing the decisive penalty in the League Cup shoot-out defeat by Chelsea and spurning a chance to win Saturday’s game at West Brom. But Ruiz is confident he will soon shine:
Everyone who knows me, knows that I want to play. I’m working hard in training to get my rhythm and hopefully I’ll play some more in the next match.
I’m just going to do my best and show my quality. I hope people will see me at my best very soon. I need to play. For sure I need to play.
I feel good. I’m fit. I know I can play 90 minutes in the Premier League. I played for 120 minutes against Chelsea and that has helped me. If I play more matches, I will get more confidence from that.
The 26 year-old is ineligible for Thursday’s Europa League trip to Odense but should be back in the Fulham squad for the local derby against QPR on Sunday.
It might have been an enthralling evening at the Cottage but it wasn’t the win that Martin Jol craved. For a while, it looked as if Fulham might take all three points against their chief rivals for top spot in our Europa League group but the home side failed to take advantage of a first-half spell of pressure and seemed curiously reluctant to pull the trigger in the second period as Twente looked the more likely to steal a victory as the game progressed.
Jol rotated his side with the frightening prospect of Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City visiting on Sunday and they very nearly did enough to claim a victory. Matthew Briggs looked impressive down the left flank, while Chris Baird coped admirably with the arrival threat of the lanky Luuk de Jong and Zdenik Grygera enjoying a solid debut at full-back. Pajtim Kasami faded after a bright start while Moussa Dembele was as infuriating as ever on the wing. Jol’s decision to replace his most potent goal-threat in Andy Johnson, whose clever finish gave Fulham a first-half lead, with Bobby Zamora rather than pairing the two together up front was especially baffling as the Whites looked to press for a winner.
Johnson looked lively up front and needed no second invitation to bounce on a horribly short back-pass from Dwight Tiendalli to sprint in on goal and lift his chip over the advancing Nikolay Mihaylov. He took the opportunity to remind Jol of his predatory instincts, appearing to mouth ‘I told you so’ at the Fulham bench. Johnson was far from happy when he was withdrawn in the second half as well. His goal was fitting reward for Fulham’s early endeavour that had seen Clint Dempsey, who buzzed around brightly behind Johnson in the first quarter, pepper the Twente goal with long-range shots. Danny Murphy flicked a header wide, before Twente punished Fulham’s prolifigacy.
De Jong should have levelled matters with his first chance after drifting between Baird and Hangeland to flick a header at goal, but his free header was smothered by Schwarzer. He got a bit luckier a couple of minutes later when he nodded Roberto Rosales’ cross against the near post but the ball bounced off Schwarzer’s body and back into the Hammersmith End net.
Fulham were much brighter at the start of the second half but failed to find a way through a resolute Twente defence. Dempsey glanced a diving header wide of goal from Sidwell’s deep cross, before the American’s penalty appeals inadvertently created the game’s most glorious chance for Johnson. Dempsey went to ground in the area under a challenge from Tim Cornelisse but after the referee waved play on the ball rebounded into Johnson’s path. Frustratingly, the former Everton striker shot straight at Mihaylov from eleven yards when virtually any other spot would have restored Fulham’s lead.
Zamora’s arrival didn’t exactly spark a hatful of late Fulham chances. The substitute dropped too deep to influence the game, while Dembele drifted aimlessly inside from wide positions – both with and without the ball. The best of the Whites’ late chances fell to Sidwell, who headed wastefully over with Dempey waiting behind him from Kasami’s right wing cross.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Gygera, Briggs (Senderos 81), Hangeland, Baird; Sidwell, Murphy, Kasami (Duff 71), Dempsey; Johnson (Zamora 66), Dembele. Subs (not used): Etheridge, Kelly, Gecov, Sa.
BOOKED: Gygera, Murphy, Senderos, Dempsey.
GOAL: Johnson (19).
FC TWENTE (4-1-3-2): Mihaylov; Cornelisse, Tiendalli, Douglas, Wisgerhof; Rosales; Jansen (Landzaat 73), Brama, Fer; de Jong, John (Bajrami 67). Subs (not used): Boschker, Bengtsson, Berghuis, Leugers, Janko.
BOOKED: Brama, Rosales.
GOAL: Schwarzer (og 41).
REFEREE: Antonio Damato (Italy).