Well, what can you say about that? A shocking performance and one to forget for all involved. Barnsley fully deserved their 0-3 win, they played with freedom and belief that they could get a positive result.
Before the game, we were level on points with Leeds and in good form having not lost in six in the Championship. This was another massive opportunity missed after an underwhelming performance against Millwall mid-week. If somebody was watching the game with no knowledge of the league, they would have thought Fulham were rock bottom and Barnsley were chasing automatic promotion. Cauley Woodrow ran the show, playing slightly off the striker, and helped himself to two goals on his return to Craven Cottage.
The away side looked confident on the ball and were a threat all afternoon on the counter-attack. Fulham are traditionally slow starters and it was no different this time out. We looked sluggish from the outset and couldn’t find any rhythm or pace to our game throughout. We looked as though we thought the game had been won before anybody had kicked a ball, lacking any urgency in all aspects of our game. Obviously, people will discuss the weather as a factor and there is no doubt that conditions played a part, however, it is the same for both sides and Barnsley adapted a lot quicker.
Marek Rodak has been brilliant since he has forced his way into the starting 11, bailing us out on multiple occasions enabling us to grind out three points in tight games. Despite this, there is no denying he was the main reason amongst many that we lost the game. The first mistake was understandable as the ball slipped out of his hands in wet and windy conditions, he then panicked and brought down the Barnsley man inside the box. For their second goal, I cannot explain or comprehend what was going through his mind to be that far out of his goal. He was punished for two big mistakes; I still believe he is a very talented goalkeeper and I hope he can redeem himself in the remaining 13 games of the season.
All over the pitch, we had a collective bad day at the office. Another shining light of recent weeks Michael Hector looked as though Storm Dennis got the better of him. He looked erratic in his decision making and kept trying to step up to win the ball and then get caught out by the opposition running in behind. We looked out of sorts in the midfield, Josh Onomah was caught out too many times and gave the ball away consistently. Tom Cairney as captain needs to take more responsibility when we are losing and be an in-game leader. There is no doubt that he has the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and aid us in performing to a high level. Unfortunately, too many times this season he has drifted through games with no real impact on the result. Furthermore, Aleksandar Mitrovic looked isolated all game with nobody getting around him when we were playing the ball long. He has already scored 21 goals in the Championship this season, we need to continue to get quality service into him so that he can resume his goal-scoring tally.
A few people were Scott Parker out after the third goal went in and the contest was all but over. Personally, I don’t agree with this, in his first full managerial role he has done a very decent job. Despite the extremely poor performance we are still sat third in the table, only three points behind Leeds and I feel as though we have the potential to gain automatic promotion. Parker came out after the game and apologised to the Fulham faithful and this is all he can do after a shocking performance. In his defence, you cannot legislate for individual errors like Rodak made. We have to forget about that game as quickly as possible and focus on the next challenge, there is no point dwelling on a bad showing when there is nothing, we can do about it now. Our next fixture is away to Derby, this certainly will not be easy as similarly to Blackburn they are very strong at home. With every grey cloud, there is a silver lining and, on this occasion, surely we can’t be any worse next time out.