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Gecov hopes for more games

Marcel Gecov says he is enjoying his time at Fulham but is hoping to feature more regularly in Martin Jol’s first team during 2012.

The Czech midfielder has made four appearances for the club since signing from Slovan Liberec for around £750,000 in the summer. The 23 year-old enjoyed an impressive debut at Chelsea in the League Cup in September but has had to wait for more first-team opportunities. He made his league debut for the Whites as a late substitute in the 1-0 win over Liverpool earlier this month.

I’ve enjoyed my time at Fulham so far but it’s been a bit difficult for me because I haven’t played too much, but I expected that at the start of my career at the club. That’s football and nobody likes it when they’re not playing but I have to be patient and wait for my chance to come.

The first half of the season has gone so quickly and it’s always difficult at the start when everything is new but now I’m really enjoying it. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for me in the New Year and during the second half of the season.

I speak with the Manager and he tells me what he wants from me. Now I need to show him in training that he can trust me on the pitch. There are a lot of experienced players ahead of me but that’s also good for me because I can learn a lot from them in training.

I’m sure we will move higher up the League over the next few months because we’re a good team with a lot of good players and experience.

Pajtim Kasami as Father Christmas

Pajtim Kasami’s fine for taking a penalty – and ignoring the team instructions – at Chelsea will pay for Fulham’s Christmas party.

The Swiss under-21 midfielder hit the bar with a penalty in Fulham’s Carling Cup tie at Stamford Bridge last month, which angered Jol as Orlando Sa had been picked as the side’s penalty taker. Press reports had suggested that the players were unhappy with Jol’s decision to fine Kasami £500, something later denied by both the former Palermo man and Brede Hangeland. Jol revealed at yesterday’s press conference that the money would go towards the club’s Christmas party:

I spoke to Kasami and he agreed he was wrong. If you’ve got a disciplined team and I tell someone to take the free-kicks, for example, a 19-year-old boy shouldn’t take the ball off him. It’s okay if he scores, but I still would’ve talked to him.

Danny Murphy’s my penalty taker and Bobby [Zamora] can take a penalty. I don’t think in the next game somebody else should take the ball. That’s undisciplined.

If someone is late for dinner before an away match, I think it’s undisciplined and I don’t want that either. At the start of the season I spoke about it [a fines system], and the money’s coming back to us for dinner and drinks.

Gecov wants more games

Marcel Gecov revelled in his Fulham debut at Stamford Bridge and has told a Czech media agency that he is desperate to make more appearances for the club.

The 23 year-old had to wait until last week’s Carling Cup tie to play his first game for Fulham following a switch switch from Slovan Liberec. Gecov greatly enjoyed the experience and hopes to get more opportunities in the Fulham midfield, although he recognises he may have to wait for his chance.

I must say I have not experienced many nicer moments in my career. The atmosphere and venues must charm everyone. When we were going to take a corner in the 70th minute and our fans were cheering for us I was saying to myself ‘I don’t want this moment to end’.

It is very addictive and I don’t think this (football in England) can ever become ordinary. I would like to be getting more and more chances to play with time but must stay realistic. This squad is packed with quality and a lot of lads are waiting for a chance.

Sure, it was rather a long wait but I wasn’t frustrated by any means. I just focused on giving my best in training and the manager was speaking to me often.

He kept explaining what the situation was and that my chance would come. It’s true I might have grown slightly impatient if I had to wait longer. This way, though, I’m happy to have experienced it.

The former Czech under-21 international was impressive on debut, being replaced late on by Steve Sidwell as Fulham went out on penalties. He remained on the substitutes’ bench during Saturday’s draw at West Brom, but could get a chance to shine in our Europa League group game in Odense on Thursday.

Another reason to hate Robbie Savage

Just in case you were warming to everyone’s favourite new pundit, here’s an extract from his Daily Mirror column:

I’ve said much the same thing to other players and it’s been forgotten by the handshake at the end of the match.

Although once I did go too far.

Leicester were in a shoot-out against Fulham and Geoff Horsfield, who I’d found out was a builder, was stepping up to take his kick.

So I said, “after you miss this, any chance of you doing me a patio?”

He didn’t see the funny side, but I did… until I joined Birmingham and found out The Horse, who’d they’d signed earlier, wanted to kill me.

That League Cup quarter-final will stay with me for a long time. Fulham were 2-0 up and cruising with ten minutes to go when Paul Bracewell decided to replace Paul Peschisolido with Rufus Brevett. Leicester grabbed two goals to take it into extra-time. The Whites couldn’t hold onto a lead Chris Coleman gave them in the extra 30 minutes and eventually lost 3-0 on penalties, with Coleman and Horsfield both missing. Remembering that makes me marvel at the fact that we scored three spot-kicks last night.

Frei catches the eye

After falling just short in a penalty shoot-out at Stamford Bridge, disappointment was the prevailing emotion. But there was plenty to be positive about during the course of a pulsating derby last night, not least the performance of some of Fulham’s fringe players. The most eye-catching display came from Swiss midfielder Kerim Frei, still only 17, who might just have forced his way into Martin Jol’s first-team plans with his direct running, pace and creativity.

The teenager had already showed his potential in our early Europa League qualifiers but there’s been a buzz about Frei since he signed for Fulham last January. A good friend of mine was raving about ‘Fulham’s Messi’ after his first couple of appearances for the under-18 side and Frei’s come to the fore since Martin Jol replaced Mark Hughes and opted to give some of our promising youngsters an opportunity. He looked lively during his debut in the Faroe Islands and offered plenty of skill and threatening running when he was ended his first start against Crusaders in Belfast. With a little more luck, one of his mazy runs in the home leg might have been rewarded with his first goal when he was introduced as a late substitute at the Cottage. There’s a big step between taking on part-timers and delivering against Chelsea in a local derby, but young Frei looked far from fearful as he ran at the home defence.

He wasn’t afraid to take on his man, giving both full-backs – the experienced Paolo Ferreira and the highly-rated Ryan Bertrand – a real examination, even if he did tire towards the end of normal time. With his low centre of gravity, standing at just 5ft 6in, and dribbling ability, Frei reminds me of a young Steed Malbranque with a little more pace. He was confident enough to step over the ball, try a few tricks and turns, and there’s no doubt Jol would have been impressed with his evening’s work.

The highlight of his night was that lovely interchange with Bryan Ruiz to win the penalty. Such direct running gave Chelsea’s defence a real problem all evening and provoked a clumsy challenge from Alex, an experienced defender. It was just a shame that he couldn’t cap his evening with the goal his whole-hearted performance merited, snatching at a decent opportunity on his left foot as Ross Turnbull came rushing off his line.

Such a precious talent needs to be handled with care. He’s obviously very confident in his ability, but just as pleasing was his awareness of those around him. He rarely gave the ball away and got his head up to find team-mates in space. The temptation would be include Frei regularly in the first team-squad now, but a mixture of reserve team football and the odd cameo off the bench might be better for the youngster’s development. Frei’s already given an indication of his ability with the development squad, scoring this terrific goal against Manchester United’s reserves the other week. If he can bulk up a little more in the coming year and avoid being knocked off the ball, he’ll be competing for a first-team spot sooner rather than later.