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Match reaction: Stewart Houston

Posted on 3 August 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Assistant manager Stewart Houston was full of praise for our defence after Wednesday night's testing pre-season friendly at Fulham.

The Cottagers put us under a lot of pressure but what is becoming a familiar back four of Stephen Carr, Sol Campbell, Chris Perry and Ben Thatcher withstood most of what was thrown at them. On the few occasions they were breached Neil Sullivan stood firm between the sticks and made three or four fine saves.

The goalless draw made it five clean sheets in five friendlies and Houston declared: "Long may it continue! I thought Fulham gave us a really good game, especially in the second half," he added.

"They kept the ball better than us and put us on the back foot. If it wasn't for Neil Sullivan and the defensive boys I think they could have won the game. But we're looking at quite a few things apart from the defence. We've still two-and-a-half weeks to go yet and I think the most important thing from Fulham that we got a lot of work out of it. They kept the ball well in the second period, created chances and made us work. We got more fitness out of the game than we could have imagined."

Meanwhile, Houston was happy to reveal why manager George Graham was not at Craven Cottage. He said: "I would just like to say that George has got a nice little bit of family business in Scotland. A lot of the Graham clan has decided to get together and George has gone there to be with his family."