Off the back of another defeat; albeit to a well organised Middlesbrough side at the weekend, we sit just seven points off Rotherham, who sit in the relegation places, with a lot of work ahead before we can feel safe about our league status for next season.
That being said we are now 11 games into Slavisa Jokanovic’s tenure as Fulham manager and while the league table would suggest little has changed in the way of results, we are slowly but surely making steps in the right direction.
The opportunity to make immediate improvements to the side were always going to be limited in January with the transfer embargo, although the additions of Michael Madl and Chris Baird among others, it has to be said that SJ had already exceeded our expectations on that front. Naturally it was always going to be difficult to enforce a particular style of play when you don’t have the right players to implement it, but the early signs would suggest a few minor tweaks and next season could see us challenging at the other end of the table.
To date we are still the second highest scorers in the division, something that is offset by having the worst defence outside of the bottom three. Were it not for the lack of quality in defence, the adoption of the 3-5-2 formation under Slavisa may well have already yielded a better set of results.
Operating such a formation with a lack of quality at left-back/left wing-back and in central defence however was always going to be problematic, so we can only hope that these positions will be the key focus areas come the transfer window in July.
With the exception of the Blackburn game, I can honestly say that I have been pleased with the performances of late. More often than not it is an individual error or two that cost us games rather than being generally outplayed. The Middlesbrough game saw us hold 55% possession with just one less effort on goal across the 90 minutes.
If we continue in the same vain for the remainder of the season then I don’t doubt that we will secure the remaining points to achieve safety and in turn build for next term having a specific style of play in mind.
The next couple of games are going to be tough, but take away the individual errors of our back line and there is a chance of us beating anyone in this division on our day. Lets keep the positivity going and realise that the remainder of this season is an assessment of who will and who won’t be at the club next year when our backline hopefully has a few hand-picked additions to allow the 3-5-2 formation to function effectively.