Leeds Utd 0
(Leeds win 6-5 on penalties)
Carabao Cup 3rd Round
That was another tough game, especially when we consider it was a side cobbled together from what we had left really! Not a weak side by any means but a few playing out of position to say the least!I have to say that the youngsters involved tonight did the club proud and while it was by no means a strong Fulham side either, it was another good work out for us! But the main thing is we live to fight another day in the competition and that must surely be a good thing if for no other reason than to give some of our promising youngsters a taste of what it’s like to play in front of a decent crowd… and we’re one step closer to getting Marcelo to Wembley too, wouldn’t that be a day out!
Let’s get the poor aspects out of the way first: our shooting and finishing generally was again woeful tonight! Three shots on target from 12 attempts when we had 62% of the ball is just not good enough, whoever is on the pitch! In terms of individual players I thought most did well without necessarily excelling.
Right, with that out of the way let’s turn to the positives and there is no better place to start than Charlie Cresswell! My word what a display of aerial dominance that was! I’ve seldom seen any centre half be so dominant in the air so consistently throughout any game EVER! He’s a big lad, we know that and throughout his short career that has meant he’s often been playing in age groups well above his own age. You could also argue that the Fulham players tonight were not the best on the planet either but taking all that into consideration he was immense and he’d get my MOTM shout without a second thought. If Pascal Struijk came of age last season we may well see Charlie do the same this campaign.
There were other good signs too with the other youngsters. Little Crysencio Summerville doesn’t look phased in this company either and, while he didn’t ever get to show us the final ball we know he has, he was clearly a handful for the Fulham defence. Then there was that incredible roar from the Leeds faithful when Joe ‘Joffy’ Geldhardt came on! Again, I don’t remember any young player eliciting that sort of a reception in a long, long time. The way he blasted that penalty in shows he’s got cohonas a plenty too as has young McKinstry.
Some of the more established players looked better tonight to me too: Rodrigo, who looked out on his feet just a few days ago up in Newcastle looked full of running today and seemed to last the pace much better and was more involved. With his price tag it’s encouraging to see he’s clearly working hard to play himself into some sort of form and if he doesn’t give up, then neither will the fans, we’ll continue to support him until he does. Kalvin Phillips was his usual self as was Illan Meslier in goal. Illan’s performances tend to often get overlooked but while the team hasn’t quite clicked yet this season he’s needed to be at his absolute best to keep our results ticking along. Junior Firpo has hopefully a lot more to show us too but he’s improving game by game and he’s another one who clearly gets what being ‘Leeds’ is as he showed when coming over to us at the end of the game; he was absolutely buzzing!
So, we’re at last on a bit of a cup run and long may it continue. I’d say the starting XI today had seven names in it we’re likely to see on Saturday so this was a strong Leeds side and we can’t gloss over the fact it was hard work to overcome a much changed Fulham side but we’ve come through it, dominated the possession as we always used to do, and we’ve got some valuable experience into a number of young lads, none of whom did themselves any harm.
Now it’s back to the main agenda and we have to show the same spirit and determination on Saturday to give our Premier League season a bit of a kick-start with a win over the Hammers. I’m sure it is only going to take one win and then we’ll start to fly again. Let’s hope we get a few of the injured lads back to bolster the chances!
Fulham Leeds Utd
Possession 38% 62%
Shots 15 12
On Target 6 3
Corners 5 4
Fouls Committed 18 9