Fulham’s relegation fears increased with a heavy defeat against fellow strugglers Sunderland at Craven Cottage. Here’s how we rated the players in their 4-1 loss.
David Stockdale: 5
Football can be cruel. Hailed last week for a Gordon Banks-esque save, pilloried this after a torrid display by the Fulham defence. Should have kept out the first goal after getting two hands to Adam Johnson’s free-kick but was let down by his defence for the other three.
Sascha Riether: 6
Kept Fabio Borini relatively quiet and did really well to set up Dimitar Berbatov’s golden opportunity to put Fulham ahead early on – only for the Bulgarian to slice wide. His crossing was inconsistent when the Whites needed better service from wide positions.
Philippe Senderos: 5
Struggled in the air and his distribution was poor at times. A difficult afternoon for the Swiss was compounded when he conceded a late penalty. He left a tired leg hanging out but won’t have been happy with Jozy Altidore’s tumble.
Fernando Amorebieta: 6
More composed than his centre-back partner but was too often exposed by the gap between defence and the two screening midfielders.
John Arne Riise: 4
Won’t be asking for the DVD of this one. Aside from the two goals which were directly down to him, he was poor positionally and misplaced too many passes. A late challenge on Borini conceded the free-kick from which Sunderland scored their second and he was then painfully slow as Johnson buried the third.
Scott Parker: 7
Fulham’s best performer, he worked hard amid a crowded central midfield, epitomised by his superb tracking back in the second half to reclaim the ball when Riether had been outpaced. Went close with a long range shot in the first half but was booked for a late lunge.
Steve Sidwell: 6
Scored the goal that dragged Fulham back into it, redeeming himself after the foul that led to Sunderland’s first. Often committed niggly fouls, no doubt a little frustrated by the congestion in the middle of the park.
Damien Duff: 6
Worked hard on the right flank to little avail, but did provide the corner from which Sidwell scored. Replaced by Ashkan Dejagah.
Adel Taarabt: 6
Shone in the first 20 minutes when Fulham had most of the possession but once Sunderland worked their way into the game he became a peripheral figure. Forced Vito Mannone into a save after a jinking run in the first half but should probably have squared it.
Clint Dempsey: 6
Accorded a hero’s welcome by the crowd, the American was nominally stationed wide on the left but drifted in field. It was there his problems started – he trod on Taarabt’s toes too often and struggled to get his quick feet working. But you feel he will be a good addition to Fulham’s ranks once he regains Premier League sharpness.
Dimitar Berbatov: 5
One of those days for the mercurial forward. Fluffed a header and a half-volley in the first 10 minutes and his confidence took a hit as a result. Tried a little too hard at times before seemingly giving up late on.
Pajtim Kasami: 6
Had more of an influence in the second half than Taarabt, who he replaced, but couldn’t inspire Fulham back into the match.
Ashkan Dejagah: 6
Came on just seconds before Sunderland broke away to score their third goal, which seemed to deflate his teammates.
Adam Johnson grabbed the headlines with his hat-trick and he was a constant thorn in Fulham’s side. However, the impact of the tireless Ki Sung-Yeung in midfield and the calming influence of John O’Shea and Wes Brown at the back can’t be overlooked. Sometimes they were quick to tumble to ground but they were worthy winners and look rejuvenated under former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet.
Man of the match: Johnson