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Fulham 5 Derby 2 - Match reaction

last updated Thursday 11th October 2001, 12:27 AM
Christian Damiano
Christian Damiano
Fulham assistant manager Christian Damiano saluted the efforts of French midfield pair Legwinski and Malbranque, who scored their first goals after summer transfers. (Actually Steed Malbranque's first goal was a screamer against Arsenal- Ed)

He said: "The new players arrived just when we started the championship and that was difficult.

"Tonight, we are happy for the new players. We had a fantastic season last year, and now we've moved up a big level. We need to adapt and to learn.

"We played well tonight and had many chances. Derby had one or two chances and scored, but I think it's a logical result. We took many risks and tried to play well.

"We are happy because in the second half we put quality in the game. We played with passion. In the first half, we didn't shoot at the start."

"New Derby manager Colin Todd reflected on his nightmare first match in charge at Fulham and delivered his verdict: "We lack mental toughness."

Todd, who stepped up from assistant boss after Jim Smith's exit on Monday, watched in bemusement from the Craven Cottage dug-out as his side twice threw away a lead to be thrashed 5-2 and dumped out of the Worthington Cup by a rampant Fulham side.

Jean Tigana's men ripped County apart at will in a sensational 25-minute second-half spell that brought four goals.

It was a far cry from the 0-0 bore draw between the sides in the FA Barclaycard Premiership six weeks ago.

But how Todd would have loved some of that defensive resolve tonight as his backline went AWOL.

For the Fulham fans in the 9,217 crowd that watched this third-round tie, it was a throwback to the thrilling attacking football that took them soaring to the Division One title last season.

Colin Todd
Colin Todd

Angry Todd was in no mood to admire the silky skills of the hosts, however, and berated his side's attitude. "We have a lack of mental toughness," he said.

"We got our noses in front, then conceded a bad goal. We took the game to them, got another good goal - and then what happened? It was 2-2 straight from the kick-off. "We should be able to do better. There's a little bit of an Achilles heel there. "When you concede two goals in three or four minutes, it breaks you. We weren't able to minimise our mistakes. "I wanted more penetration - but it's damaging when we concede soft goals. We have the ability in the side but we are punishing ourselves. We just have to work to make sure we get that mental toughness."

Barry Hayles hauled Fulham back onto level terms after Craig Burley had given Derby a shock first-half lead, but Fabrizio Ravanelli put the visitors 2-1 up after 54 minutes.

The Cottagers then smashed four quick-fire goals, starting with a Sylvain Legwinski header - 60 seconds after Ravanelli's strike - and a John Collins free-kick, to put the home side ahead.

A great Louis Saha run and shot, followed by a Steed Malbranque penalty, wrapped up an amazing 5-2 victory.

Source SportingLife
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