Fulham forward Andre Schurrle says he has been misquoted in articles that suggested he wanted to leave Fulham if they are relegated and called on fans to “stick together and fight ’til the end”.
Schurrle, 28, did an interview with German magazine Kicker that has been reproduced by several publications.
In the translated interview, he says his loan from Borussia Dortmund will end if 19th-placed Fulham go down.
“It is not even close to what I said. Just very bad translating,” he tweeted.
Schurrle referred to a “newspaper” in his tweet and said the article was “out of context and trying to produce a false headline”.
“Let’s stick together and fight ’til the end,” he added.
Schurrle has signed a two-year loan deal and has scored six goals in 22 appearances in all competitions for Fulham since joining in July.
Claudio Ranieri’s side have just three league wins since August and sit seven points adrift of 17th-placed Burnley.
If Fulham are looking for consolation amid the mire of what seems increasingly like a lost cause, then the look in Andre Schurrle’s eyes provided it, as he prepared to leave a foul night in Lancashire behind him.
World Cup winners don’t generally need to trouble themselves with a pitched battle at the bottom of the Premier League but the German, who had provided the afternoon’s single moment of class, deconstructed the usual superstar notion.
His bluntness is a quality that his team, five points from safety and alone among Premier League and Football League clubs in their continuing search for a first away win, could use.
Somehow they had lost 2-1 to a home side who failed to get a single shot on target. ‘Yeah, imagine that. It’s very hard to take,’ said the 28-year-old, who got in behind Burnley to put Fulham ahead after a minute and 50 seconds with an exquisite half-volley.
‘It was a great start for us. It was exactly how we wanted to play, in behind and try to turn the people but after that there was nothing from us in the first half, and we got under pressure and didn’t play any football. So, first half it was nothing and second half we just couldn’t score.
‘It’s not easy. I’ve never been involved in something like this. It’s not easy to adapt to losing a lot. It’s not what I am used to, so I have to put my qualities for the team and try to score a bit more.’
The second-half recovery was creditable, yet this still looks like a collection of individuals, rather than a team; a squad changed so fundamentally last summer that it is hard to re-locate that spirit which brought them to this level.
‘We are deep, deep, deep in trouble,’ said Schurrle. ‘It’s not in our own hands, but there is hope and belief.’
A brace from veteran striker Glenn Murray inspired Brighton to mount an impressive fightback from 2-0 down and claim a point against Fulham in an absorbing contest at the AMEX Stadium this afternoon.
The three points from these two sides’ first ever top-flight meeting looked set to be heading back to London when Aleksandar Mitrovic stroked home his fourth of goal of the season to double the visitors’ advantage after Andre Schürrle had put them in front. But Slavisa Jokanovic’s side quickly had any illusions of comfort dispelled by Murray and Mitrovic was to go from hero to zero, conceding a late penalty after being adjudged to have handled in his own area. Unlike Pascal Gross, who had seen a first half penalty superbly saved by Marcus Bettinelli, Murray made no mistake from the spot and set up an end-to-end finale, where both sides spurned chances to win it.
This was a strange game where Fulham, even at two goals to the good, struggled to get their fluid passing football functioning in the absence of injured captain Tom Cairney. Jokanovic’s men never seemed in control of the contest, initially knocked off kilter by Albion’s energetic high pressing game and a high-tempo start. The Serbian head coach elected to deploy Maxime Le Marchand, impressive at centre back in his first few outings for the Cottagers at left back in place of Joe Bryan and the Frenchman’s lack of adventure severely limited Fulham’s options in the final third. More crucially, he also sparked Brighton’s unlikely comeback by presenting possession to Anthony Knockaert and, moments later, Murray had halved the deficit.
Fulham had to weather an concerted spell of early Brighton pressure as the Seagulls swarmed dangerously around the away side’s penalty box and won a succession of set plays. Murray, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy all offered warnings of their ability in the air – and another long afternoon on the south coast seemed in prospect for the Whites, who had lost all of their last five meetings with Brighton. Alfie Mawson impressed on his league debut after coming through 75 minutes of League Cup action against Exeter City in midweek, but all of his composure and Premier League experience were needed to guide the visitors through a tough start.
They were indebted to Bettinelli for preserving parity after the goalkeeper did brilliantly to dive to his right and claw away Gross’s 24th minute penalty. Lee Probert’s awarding of the spot-kick might not have been controversial – as Luciano Vietto clearly upended Murray as he sought to turn in the penalty area – but Fulham were incensed that the Brighton striker was not flagged offside earlier in the move. Justice was done, but Jokanovic’s men still struggled to plot a way through the Albion midfield, with Davy Propper and Dale Stephens successfully nullifying their pretty passing game.
Fulham had threatened only sporadically, through a speculative Jean-Michael Seri shot and a wayward Mitrovic header, before taking the lead on the stroke of half-time. Seri, who oozed class again throughout, fashioned a few yards of space of the edge of the box after being found by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and floated a devilish ball between the Brighton back line and Mat Ryan. Schürrle stole into the space and swept a clinical finish to score his second goal in as many games for his new club.
The game followed a similar pattern after the break. Albion looked the more threatening in the final third and should have been level ten minutes into the second period. Propper produced a brilliant through ball that sent Solly March through on goal, but the winger somehow spooned his finish high over the crossbar with only Bettinelli to beat. Chris Hughton scowled in frustration on the touchline and his anger only grew six minutes later when Fulham took advantage of some sloppy defending to double their lead.
Mitrovic punished one-time Fulham target Dunk’s failure to deal with a lofted ball forward, nipping in to steal possession and then leaving the Brighton centre back trailing in his wake as he surged into the penalty area. Ryan did well to save Mitrovic’s first effort, but the Serbian striker rolled the rebound into the bottom corner to send the travelling fans into ecstasy. The former Newcastle forward has four goals in as many games since completing his protracted move from St. James’ Park – not bad for someone supposedly not clinical enough for the Premier League.
It was then that Fulham’s fallibility began to show. Jokanovic isn’t a coach who tells his teams to shut up shop – as demonstrated by Le Marchand’s attempt to pop off a shot pass as the rest of his back line pushed up the pitch. His ball inside was seized upon by the dangerous Knockaert who set off on a marauding run in from the right before picking the perfect moment to play in Murray, who had all the time in the world to thread the ball through the legs of a helpless Bettinelli.
That goal changed the complexion of a contest that might otherwise have meandered out of Brighton’s reach. The home side were galvanised and, after Hughton threw on Jurgen Locadia, went even more direct. Fulham appeared to have dealt with a dangerous free-kick when Mitrovic looked to bring the ball down in his own box with only Ryan Sessegnon for company. The assistant referee immediately flagged for a penalty and Murray made no mistake – sending Bettinelli the wrong way from 12 yards.
There was still time for either side to win it. Martin Montoya sent a rasping drive fractionally wide as Brighton looked for a grandstand finish before Sessegnon slalomed his way past two Brighton defenders but his tame finish – into the arms of Ryan – couldn’t match the quality of the teenager’s terrific approach play. All in all, the draw felt like a fair result.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION (4-4-1-1): Ryan; Montoya, Bong, Dunk, Duffy; Stephens, Propper, Knockaert (Jahanbakhsh 74), March; Gross (Bissouma 60); Murray. Subs (not used): Button, Kayal, Balogun, Bernardo.
BOOKED: Stephens, Propper, Murray.
GOALS: Murray (67, pen 84).
FULHAM (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Fosu-Mensah, Le Marchand, Odoi, Mawson; McDonald, Seri, Anguissa (Johansen 74); Schürrle (Chambers 87), Vietto (R. Sessegnon 74); Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Fabri, Christie, Bryan, Kamara.
BOOKED: Johansen, Mitrovic, Le Marchand.
GOALS: Schürrle (43), Mitrovic (62).
REFEREE: Lee Probert (South Gloucestershire).
Andre Schürrle has described scoring his first Fulham goal as one of the most special moments in his glittering career.
The German World Cup winner is looking to reignite his career during a two-year loan spell at Craven Cottage and made the most of his recall to the starting line-up with a superb display that was capped by Fulham’s fourth goal in their win over Burnley this afternoon.
A beaming Schürrle shared his delight with FulhamFCTV after the final whistle:
It was a great atmosphere and it was a really good feeling on the pitch. I really enjoyed every minute because you could feel like everyone was coming, everyone was going – the crowd wanted us to be together, fight and score the goals and that’s what we did. Today was amazing and for our new players it was so important, you can’t even believe.
We could have scored more, especially me. I think I had 45 shots today! Normally in a Premier League you don’t have so many shots and so many big chances, so that’s what we have to get together. Maybe we have to score a few more goals, but we’re happy with four today and the win.
The winger was delighted to get off the mark for the Whites, especially after seeing a number of his earlier efforts well saved by Joe Hart. Schürrle had also struck the crossbar with an audacious strike from the right angle of the penalty area but rounded off the victory by clinically finishing from the edge of the area after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s effort had rebounded off the far post.
When I scored the goal, it was very important for me. It was one of the greatest moments in my career and to be on this pitch and in front of these fans, because they were all chanting [my name] before, I wanted to give them something back and when the ball went in and I could feel this joy, it was an amazing moment.
I had a difficult situation in Dortmund in pre-season. I came here and everything went so quick. I was behind all the guys because I lost ten days in pre-season and I tried to fight back. The first few games was okay, Crystal Palace was okay, but I had a feeling I could do more and to get off the mark today is always one of the best moments.
Those casting casual glance over the Premier League table prior to today’s fixture might have thought Fulham’s £100m summer spending misplaced after they began their return to the top flight with two defeats. On a soggy afternoon at Craven Cottage, the Whites painted a spirited riposte by putting Burnley to the sword with some sparkling football inspired by the artistry of Jean-Michael Seri and an exhibition of classical centre forward play from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Seri, who could have been wearing the fabled colours of Barcelona but for a late change of heart from the Catalan club last summer, has purred quietly in the season’s opening fortnight at the heart of a reshaped Fulham midfield. Once again he orchestrated much of Fulham’s most incisive football from the midfield, but he needed little more than three minutes to leave his mark on this contest. There appeared little danger when the Ivorian received possession from Luciano Vietto thirty yards from goal, left of centre, but in the blink of an eye Seri glided away from Jeff Hendrick and unleashed an unstoppable strike into Joe Hart’s top corner. Not a bad way to score your first goal in English football.
Fulham’s commitment to total football under Slavisa Jokanovic has been absolute – and was the reason why they earned promotion from the Championship last season. Occasionally, it will prove the Whites’ biggest weakness: as it did here when Maxime Le Marchand carelessly gifted possession to Burnley on the halfway line five minutes later. The pace of Aaron Lennon unsettled the remnants of the home defence and, once the former England winger had beautifully teed up Hendrick, the equaliser arrived at the second attempt after the recalled Marcus Bettinelli had repelled his initial effort.
Impressively, that setback only served to galvanise a Fulham side who had shown positive signs in their first two Premier League outings, but not managed to string together a complete performance. They continued to probe patiently, enjoying almost complete dominance of the ball, and with full backs Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Joe Bryan haring forward down both flanks. Jokanovic had made five changes in response to last weekend’s defeat by Tottenham at Wembley – even benching wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon, rendering Gareth Southgate’s rumoured scouting mission pretty pointless, and underlining the need for his players to adjust to the unforgiving nature of the top flight.
The home side looked enlivened by the intelligence of Luciano Vietto on the left and Andre Schurrle’s eagerness on the opposite flank. The German winger carried the ball forward with purpose and peppered Hart’s goal with shots from distance throughout, whilst Vietto floated into pockets of space behind Mitrovic. The Serbian centre forward set about banishing any doubts about his suitability at this level – adding to his Wembley equaliser with two goals in two minutes that changed the complexion of this contest.
Both came in the air and were intricately worked. The first had been constructed at Motspur Park with Tom Cairney receiving a short corner and chipping an inviting ball to the back post, where Mitrovic arrived to head past a hesitant Hart from barely three yards out. Mitrovic led Ben Mee and James Tarkowski a merry dance all afternoon, with the Burnley centre backs getting their wires horribly crossed as Vietto floated an inviting cross between them for the former Newcastle forward to bury a routine header. Hart’s anguish at the ease of it all was understandable – one of his defenders pushed up to play offside whilst the other stayed deeper, affording Mitrovic another simple finish.
The visitors did find a reply prior to half-time, although Tarkowski’s bundled finish from a corner probably shouldn’t have stood given that the former Brentford centre back looked offside when Mee headed the ball back towards goal. Sean Dyche’s charges looked exhausted by the after-effects of an demorilising defeat at the hands of Olympiakos in midweek – and couldn’t rouse themselves to complete the comeback in the second half. Hendrick came closest, driving into the Putney End after clever approach play from Chris Wood, but Fulham’s onslaught was unrelenting.
The lively Schurrle almost created a goal out of nothing, cutting in from the right to rattle Hart’s crossbar with an audacious curler from just outside the box. Then, Cairney – who later limped off after being clattered by Tarkowski – caressed a ball out to the rampaging Fosu-Mensah and the Manchester United loanee’s measured cross eluded the diving efforts of both Schurrle and Mitrovic to divert the ball home from inside the six-yard box. Just as the Cottage prepared itself for another agnosingly finale, Mitrovic wriggled free on the edge of the box and measured a drive for the far corner. Hart somehow tripped the strike onto the base of the far post, but proved powerless to prevent Schurrle from rolling in the rebound with his eleventh attempt of the match.
The two-goal cushioned probably offered a better reflection of an absorbing contest and an elusive first Premier League win should do wonders for Fulham’s confidence. Jokanovic now has a plethora of options to perm his first eleven form and, on this evidence, when they click, the Whites could prove a formidable proposition.
FULHAM (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Fosu-Mensah, Bryan (Chambers 72), Odoi, Le Marchand; McDonald, Seri, Cairney (Anguissa 78); Schurrle (R. Sessegnon 88), Vietto, Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Fabri, Christie, Johansen, Kamara.
BOOKED: Schurrle, Bettinelli.
GOALS: Seri (4), Mitrovic (36, 38), Schurrle (83).
BURNLEY (4-2-3-1): Hart; Lowton, Ward (Barnes 66), Mee, Tarkowski; Cork, Westwood; Lennon, Gudmundsson (Taylor 23), Hendrick; Wood (Vokes 66). Subs (not used): Heaton, Gibson, Bardsley, Long.
GOALS: Hendrick (10), Tarkowski (41).
REFEREE: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).