Fulham need to keep fighting
The Sun

Middlesbrough 1 Fulham 0

JEREMIE ALIADIERE'S first-half strike was enough to sink struggling Fulham.

After picking up an impressive 2-1 win against Aston Villa last weekend, Roy Hodgson's men headed to the Riverside on a high.

But Aliadiere burst the bubble in the 11th minute as Middlesbrough picked up three priceless points.

And Boro boss Gareth Southgate was delighted to see the Frenchman on the scoresheet.

He said: “Jeremie has been outstanding for us all season, especially in the last two months or so.

"He has played unselfishly and now he is making the most of his chances and his confidence is growing."

Southgate is also relishing working with new £12million signing Afonso Alves, who had a quiet debut after coming on as a 57th-minute substitute to lead the line on his own.

He added: "I knew he’d struggle physically because he’s not ready, but I had to counter that with the lift he would give the crowd for the last 15 or 20 minutes.

“I think he’ll probably be better playing alongside somebody and we asked a lot of him in that role today.

"It will do him the world of good to have dipped his toes into the water and see what the Premier League is about.

“He has had quite a mad two weeks and it has been a tiring spell."

Despite the defeat, Hodgson remained defiant about Fulham's chances of beating the drop.

The Cottagers boss said: "It was a very gritty performance even though we went a goal down early on.

"Our passing was good, especially in the second half.

"We had longs periods of domination and if we had got a point nobody could have said we stole it.

"It was difficult to break them down because they did not come out at us.

"But it was Boro hanging onto their victory rather than us looking in danger of going more goals down.

"At this stage you have to take any signs of encouragement and there were quite a few for us today."

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Young, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, O'Neil, Rochemback, Arca, Downing, Aliadiere (Boateng 76), Lee (Alves 57).
Subs not used: Turnbull, Mido, Grounds.

Booked: Huth.

Goal: Aliadiere 11.

Fulham: Niemi, Stalteri, Baird, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Andreasen, Kamara (Dempsey 46), Nevland (McBride 64).
Subs not used: Keller, Volz, Bocanegra.

Booked: Kamara, Nevland.

Att: 26,885

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).