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Tough task

Posted on 26 December 2008  - 12:00

Harry Redknapp felt we lacked a cutting edge as we tried to break down a resilient Fulham on Boxing Day.

Tough task

Harry Redknapp felt we lacked a cutting edge as we tried to break down a resilient Fulham on Boxing Day.

We enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the goalless draw at the Lane but found it tough to create clear-cut chances.

When we did so Aaron Lennon was superbly denied by Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer and both Luka Modric, twice and Ledley King angled efforts narrowly wide.

However, the Cottagers did create chances themselves and Heurelho Gomes was at his absolute best to deny Clint Dempsey and then, vitally, Andy Johnson one-on-one with only five minutes left.

Roy Hodgson's men are now nine unbeaten and have shut out ourselves, Stoke, Villa and leaders Liverpool in their last four away games in the Premier League.

"It was difficult to break them down," reflected Harry. "When you look at their away form, they don't concede many goals and you can see why.

"We just lacked punch, a cutting edge. We had a lot of the ball without creating the chances we should have done.

"It's hard though when teams congest the play, as Fulham did, very difficult. We had the same problem when Liverpool came here, they were fantastic that day.

"We couldn't play through Modric. There was no space to play and it was difficult to get balls up to him because the back four squeeze up, they don't leave any holes and condense everything.

"At the end I went with two up front and Modric went to the left but that's not ideal, to get the best out of he needs to be in that hole just behind the front."

One bright spot was a fourth clean sheet in six league games. "I thought the back four coped well, we didn't have too many problems," added Harry. "Gomes did well, Benoit Assou-Ekotto was excellent - the whole back was excellent."

The only down side was an early injury to midfielder Tom Huddlestone which must make him a doubt for Sunday's (December 28, kick-off 2pm) trip to West Brom. "Tom turned his ankle over," reported Harry. "I'm not sure yet how long he'll be out, we'll have to wait and see."