The job applications have come in thick and fast as Fulham look to appoint their fourth manager since Shahid Khan took over in July 2013. After Felix Magath’s midweek sacking, they are four points from safety with just seven games gone.
If you believe what you read the queue is already stretching round the corner from Craven Cottage. Neil Lennon, Steve Clarke, Tim Sherwood, Danny Murphy and Chris Hughton to name just a few. It was even claimed Malky Mackay was spotted in the crowd. Standing in their way is Kit Symons, Fulham’s Under-21 manager and hugely popular with players and fans alike.
But if Symons, the caretaker boss, is to secure a job he openly craves, he will have to hit the ground running with a team short on experience and low on confidence. Fulham have already conceded 18 goals and in the first half their fragile defence looked vulnerable when Blackburn ventured into their half.
Yet free from the shackles of the Magath dictatorship, Fulham’s confidence started to return. It was evident Symons was having an impact after just one training session. They looked like they were going to reach the break without conceding until Shaun Hutchinson was sent off for a reckless challenge on Lee Williamson in first-half injury time. Williamson was stretched off after Hutchinson went through him like an express train leaving Andy D’Urso little choice but to show red.
So Fulham found themselves in family territory with their backs to the wall and when Jordan Rhodes fired home in the 58th minute you feared the worse. But after the goal there was only one team in it.
On another day Fulham would have secured their first victory of the season and you couldn’t help feeling with a full team they would have done. To their detriment they found Blackburn keeper Jason Steele in breathtaking form. He denied Ross McCormack, Hugo Rodallega and substitute George Williams as Fulham pressed.
But there was no joy for Symons. “Naturally I’m disappointed but I’m not despondent,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked any more of the players. The attitude and response I have got in just two days has been fantastic and if we can build on that we will start to climb up the league.”
Symons said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort despite having a player sent off. “Obviously it was unfortunate. The boy was distraught, he knew it was a bad tackle. But there was no malice involved. He’s just not like that.”
Blackburn boss, Gary Bowyer, was impressed with Symons. “Full credit to Kit,” he said. He’s probably had one training session and you can see he’s done a terrific job. He is going in the right direction.”
Fulham (4-4-2): Bettinelli; Amorebieta, Burn, Hutchinson, Hoogland; Stafylidis (Roberts 83), Parker, Ruiz (Williams 73), Christensen; Rodallega, McCormack.
Blackburn (4-4-2): Steele; Olsson, Duffy, Hanley, Baptiste; Cairney (Taylor 45), Evans, Williams (Conway 45), Marshall; Gestede, Rhodes (Varney 78).
Referee: Andy D’Urso
Man of the match: Steele (Blackburn)
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content