On paper, Fulham, bookies favourites for automatic promotion from the Championship this season, should have romped home with an emphatic victory in their opening game at Barnsley this afternoon.
Although Barnsley were unbeaten at home in League One last season, they fielded no less than six debutants.
This was a match that surely Fulham had to win, and show the rest of the teams in the Championship that their strike force was one to be scared of.
From the outset, once again Fulham started jittery. No confidence evident, it was like they were playing against Premier League opponents.
The home side very quickly noticed that here was a team that was lacking in self-belief. It only took 13 minutes before a poor attempt at a tackle by defender Joe Bryan allowed Barnsley to open the scoring. This paved the way for several more attempts from Barnsley to increase the lead. Just a lack of quality up front denied them from putting the game beyond the visitors during the first period.
The second half started much the same as the first with Barnsley looking the more likely to score next. Fulham mustered a few decent attacks, but hardly looked likely to equalise, even after Knockaert came on as a substitute.
This was not the performance Fulham fans, nor head coach Scott Parker expected.
A winning mentality needs desperately to be restored when the Whites entertain Blackburn next Saturday, or Parker’s reign could become a very short one.
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