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Fulham 0-1 Wolves Cham 03 1415 The Guardian

last updated Thursday 21st August 2014, 11:29 PM

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James Riach at The Guardian

Fulham (0) 0-1 (1) Wolves

Pointless and ponderous, this is not how the season was meant to begin for Fulham. The club that slipped out of the Premier League in May are now joint bottom of the Championship after three matches, the latest defeat inflicted by an accomplished Wolves side who secured victory thanks to Bakary Sako's early effort.

A penny for the thoughts of Shahid Khan, the Fulham owner who watched on in the directors' box after discussions with Felix Magath pre-match. It has been a summer of upheaval at the Cottage - Scott Parker was the only player to start here who featured on the day that Fulham were relegated at Stoke - and the result has so far been disappointing.

There were glimpses of quality, not least through their prized teenager Patrick Roberts, but the new players and many youngsters have yet to gel. In the end, Sako's goal was enough but Fulham were in more danger of conceding again than scoring an equaliser, surviving a late penalty miss from Sako who hit the post in injury time after Cameron Burgess brought down Nouha Dicko.

"It is a long season, it is not a short run, the Championship," said Magath. "I am not worried. We are prepared for the Championship. Wolves were promoted from the league below, they stay together and stick together. They have good confidence, it is always a problem playing against promoted teams at the beginning of the season. I'm sorry for the defeat, I can only ask for patience."

It was no surprise when Wolves struck early. They had been far the superior side until the opening goal in the 15th minute, more organised and more dangerous, as Fulham struggled to settle into any semblance of a rhythm.

When it came, the goal was simple but wonderfully executed, Scott Golbourne delivering a low corner that David Edwards dummied to allow Sako room to sweep the ball into the net. It was an effort surely practised many times in training, as Fulham's defence watched on bewildered.

The early goal did at least spark Magath's side into some form of life, Roberts providing a glimmer of thrust in attack with Ross McCormack often the intended outlet from midfield. However, Fulham did not create a single chance of note in the first half.

Kenny Jackett, the Wolves manager, said: "I thought we played very well. We negated Fulham and gave them few opportunities. The penalty miss wasn't crucial but I did feel there was more goals for us.

"Our aspirations are to get Wolves back in the Premier League. We have to go for the top. In August and September we will assess where we are in the division. Already we've had quite a few different tests, to sides in Norwich and Fulham coming out of the Premier League and then we lost 1-0 to Rotherham last week who came up with us."

Moussa Dembélé had an immediate impact after being brought on in the 50th minute, the 18-year-old forward forcing Carl Ikeme into his first save of the night following a low drive from 25 yards, the goalkeeper extending his right arm and tipping the ball wide.

But while they were slowly increasing the pressure, Fulham were becoming increasingly susceptible to defensive lapses of their own. Rajiv van La Parra broke into the area and shot wide rather than trying to find a fellow gold shirt. When Burgess brought down Dicko in injury time the defeat should have been sealed, but Sako's penalty rebounded off the post.

On his discussions with Khan, Magath said: "We met not only today, but also a few days ago. We talked about the situation. He realises and knows that it might be a difficult period in the beginning of the season if you change a lot."

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