I didn’t think Garry Monk could go much higher in my estimation, but his bravery in his team selection yesterday was something else.
Like many fans and pundits, I was convinced that 4-5-1 was the only way to go against Fulham, but the manager stuck to his guns with two up top, and he was handsomely rewarded for taking the risk. So, what did we learn yesterday?
1) The Power of a Full House
It’s not that anyone was surprised by the atmosphere at St Andrews, but the impact it had on the players was huge. The team was limp last time out at QPR and they looked like a different team facing the Cottagers.
Certainly, the players were up for the occasion and they looked very keen to impress in front of a boisterous home support. You could say it would be hard not to be inspired by a full house on the final day, but nerves can still play a part.
Monk got this team to play without fear when just a week before they had wilted. Part of that was the intent to play on the front foot.
2) No Stepping Off The Gas
Fulham came into the encounter having not lost in 23 games. The fear I had was that we could be played off the park playing only four in midfield. The manager did not heed the calls to go with five to take control of the game, and it worked out fine.
He was proven emphatically right. David Davis was immense in the middle, but it’s not fair to single out just one player. Everyone who featured contributed, and played out of their skins. It was far more comfortable than anyone could have realistically expected.
3) Young Talent A Sign Of Things To Come
Monk showed massive faith by keeping Wes Harding in the starting eleven, and he was rewarded with a top display. The 21-year old provided the cross for the opening goal and kept one of Fulham’s major threats Ryan Sessegnon quiet.
The defender looks to have a huge future ahead of him, and it will be interesting to see how many more youngsters will be given their chance. The boss has stated he will be “relentless” with selling players who are not on board with his vision. Players like Wes will be the cornerstone of what he is trying to build going forward.