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Symons helped by McCormack and Rodallega

last updated Thursday 04th December 2014, 11:01 PM
Fulham Football Club


Fulham Manager Kit Symons
Fulham Manager
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Fulham manager Kit Symons has done more than turn things around at Fulham. As owner Shahid Khan recently suggested upon giving him the manager's job on a permanent basis, he's restored the values of the club following Felix Magath's miserable time in charge.

Magath's failure to keep Fulham in the Premier League was explicable but to leave the Cottagers rock bottom of the Championship was barely believable. After a home defeat to Blackburn, Symons found himself presiding over a mess that left Fulham with just one point from eight games.

What's followed has been dramatic by any standards. Symons has guided Fulham to 21 points from the next 11 games - the sort of form that would have the Cottagers clear at the top of the table had he been in place since the start of the season.

As owner Shahid Khan says, he's given the fans their club back. "He had impressive results but he also restored what we were missing - the sense of belief, family and pride that were the very hallmarks of Fulham that attracted me to the club," said Khan.

"We've been a different football club, on and off the pitch, since Kit stepped in as our caretaker manager in September. His passion for Fulham is evident and contagious, and I believe the promise ahead of him is extremely bright."

Fulham striker Ross McCormack
Fulham striker
Ross McCormack
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So how has he done it? Well, the quality at Fulham should not have been in doubt. The academy setup that produced FA Youth Cup finalists in May supported by senior professionals such as Scott Parker should have been a good mix.

But the key to the turnaround has undoubtedly been in attack. Fulham's eight-figure investment in Ross McCormack raised eyebrows, so the new manager had to focus on getting the best from him, while the upsurge in form of strike partner Hugo Rodallega has been a welcome surprise too.

Once again they proved the difference at the weekend against Brighton. Darren Bent threatened to spoil the day for his former club but it was the current Fulham strikers who made the difference in Saturday's 2-1 win. "Our two strikers were excellent in the second half," said Symons.

McCormack didn't find the net himself but the Scot has shown there's rather more to his game these days. Indeed, last season's Championship top scorer has embraced a roaming role off the main striker, getting on the ball and helping to create opportunities for others as well as himself.

Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega
Fulham striker
Hugo Rodallega
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It's been a success with McCormack producing seven assists as well as four goals. In fact, there are only five players in the Championship who have directly contributed to more goals than him so far this season. And one of those is the man ahead of him, Rodallega.

The Colombian is in the final year of his contract at Craven Cottage but finds himself rejuvenated under Symons. Rodallega bagged a brace against Charlton on Sky Sports in October and, more recently, has scored in each of Fulham's last three games.

With eight goals and five assists, only Nottingham Forest's Michail Antonio has a greater combined tally but when it comes to impact per time on the pitch there's nobody better. Rodallega has directly contributed to a goal at a rate of one every 90 minutes of action.

He credits Symons for the turnaround. "He's a good manager and a good man," says Rodallega. "He gives everyone confidence and that's important for the group. He said to me 'try to enjoy it'. He wants the players to do their best on the pitch and on the training ground. He wants the players to enjoy it in the training sessions and the games. He wants all of this."

The powerful forward is even considering staying at the club. "My contract is up, but I want to stay here. I haven't spoken to the club yet but maybe I will in the next few months. I am happy and am enjoying the moment. I want to score more goals and play every game."

Friday's visit of Watford in front of the Sky Sports cameras offers the next opportunity to do just that. A win would take Fulham within four points of a team that led them by 15 just eight games into the season.

More pertinently, it would briefly lift them within just half a dozen points of the playoffs. With McCormack and Rodallega in this form, the Magath shambles behind them and Symons galvanising the club, that's now a more than realistic ambition for Fulham once again.























Source Adam Bate at SkySports

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