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Fulham 2 Southampton 1 - After match reaction

last updated Saturday 27th October 2001, 6:56 PM
Fulham assistant boss Christian Damiano rued his side's inability to seal the contest, saying; "It was the same old problem.

"We had many chances and yet scored few goals. But today was important because we won.

"Steed Malbranque always has a good attitude, he has the ability to score and the ability to provide the final ball and in this game he played very well."

Of the London side misfiring strike force, Damiano added; "I think if you consider this question that the ability to create is just as important and we have a lot of new players.

"When Zinedine Zidane and Robert Pires moved to new countries they needed to adapt and with time we can resolve this problem.

"Today we could not kill the game - at 2-1 we had many chances. We were not able to seal it and play with confidence."

New Southampton manager Gordon Strachan admitted the better team won at Craven Cottage as Fulham recorded only their second victory in 10 Premiership games.

Strachan, who took over on the south coast less than a week ago, has seen his side outplayed in both the 3-3 draw with Ipswich and the 2-1 loss to last season's First Division champions.

Frenchman Steed Malbranque scored both of the home side's goals, the second less than a minute after James Beattie had levelled in the first half.

In truth, Jean Tigana's men should have won by a much greater margin, once again their lack of killer instinct around goal leaving them to sweat until the final whistle.

Swede Anders Svensson struck the bar from fully 30 yards and substitute Dan Petrescu had a shot charged down by the hands of Rufus Brevett, although referee Andy d'Urso failed to spot the incident.

But Strachan was honest in his assessment, as he said; "The better team won. "The more technical side, the quicker side won the game. "If we had been a lucky side we might have scraped something out of it but you can't rely on luck in the Premier League."

Strachan sent on new signing Paul Williams just before half-time as Claus Lundekvam limped out of the action with a hamstring problem.

It left the Saints manager to admit he will have to act quickly to bolster his wafer-thin ranks, with the team currently in the bottom three of the Premiership.

"The players gave as much as their bodies and minds would let them," Strachan added. "The players need help and I am told by the coaching staff that there aren't many more in reserve." Quizzed on whether he thought the visitors should have been awarded a late spot kick, Strachan added; "If we were lucky.

"Our hearts kept us in a position and Fulham kept us in a position where we could have nicked something."  
Source PA Sport by Richard Gibson,
Since 1998
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