Michael Dawson knew all about William Gallas before lining-up alongside him for the first time against Fulham on New Year’s Day.
So there were no surprises for ‘Daws’ as the pair hit it off straight away in central defence to keep our second-successive clean sheet in the 1-0 win at the Lane.
Michael’s injury on international duty in September meant he and William were not available together until early December.
But then William suffered a hamstring problem, ruling him out until his return against Fulham.
“I’d watched him closely in matches when I was injured,” said Michael. “And he’s an outstanding defender.
“He’s done fantastic for us. He missed a couple of games out injured but came back in against Fulham and was brilliant again.
“He has a lot of experience and is a great addition to this team.
“He reads the game so well and for a centre-back, he’s not the biggest in the world, but he can leap high, he’s quick and you can see why he’s played at the very top level throughout his career.”
Naturally, Michael was delighted with another clean sheet after the Cottagers pushed us all the way.
Mark Hughes’ men arguably put us under as much pressure as any opposing team at the Lane this season, but Gareth Bale’s glancing header proved enough for a third win out of three over the festive period.
“First of all, you have to give Fulham credit,” he said. “They had a good game plan and stuck to it.
“We didn’t get behind them in the first half, but we managed to go 1-0 up and in the second half they had a right go at us. We had to stand strong, make blocks and we did that.
“From a defender’s point of view, it’s always great to keep a clean sheet. We had chances to make it two at the other end as well but I’ll take 1-0 any day of the week!
“It was a hard-fought game but in the end we went home happy.”
We travel to Everton on Wednesday night for the final match of a four-game sequence in the Premier League over 11 days of Christmas and New Year.
With three out of three so far and now 11 matches unbeaten in all competitions, Michael insisted the lads just want to keep the run going.
“Every game in the Premier League is tough and you expect nothing less at Goodison Park,” he said.
“United, City and Arsenal all won again and if we want to be in that top four, we have to keep winning. We can’t concentrate on other teams, if we continue winning our games, that’s the main thing.”