The key talking points from Fulham draw
After a very hard-fought draw at Craven Cottage yesterday, we take a look at the key talking points as we go into the second leg at the Mad Stad on Tuesday.
Stam got his tactics spot on - The Dutchman once again proved his worth as his defensive tactics managed to stifle a strong, attacking Fulham side. I know it wasn't pretty and we didn't have much going forward, but except their goal, we restricted them to next to nothing chances. Even with ten men we managed to cope, albeit for ten minutes. The back five worked perfectly and credit has to go to Stam for that. It will be interesting to see how we approach the second leg, but I can't see it being too much different.
We all would have taken a draw before the game - On the face of it, a draw away from home is a superb result - it leaves the game on Tuesday as a one-off and considering our solid home form, we've given ourselves the best possible opportunity. Many expected a repeat of what happened at Craven Cottage earlier in the season, but we proved that demons were long gone.
Reading were worthy of the draw - This may be controversial and slightly biased, but I think we were well worth the draw yesterday. Yes, Fulham were the team with the lions share of the ball and pushed late on, but it was a game of very few chances, partly down to Stam's defensive yet effective tactics. The likes of Aluko, Ayite and Martin struggled to get into the game, when they pretty much ran the show earlier in the season.
McShane can have no complaints - Real time, it looked a high challenge, and the reply just makes it look worse to be honest. The skipper isn't that type of player, which makes it more frustrating, especially as it wasn't a challenge he needed to make. He will be a massive miss for the second leg and possibly the final, but he can't have any complaints.
McShane suspension and Obita injury will mean Stam has to rethink ahead of Tuesday - The fact we wont be able to start with the same back five as we did yesterday is going to be a massive blow, not just because of Paul Macca's absence, but potentially Jordan Obita, who ended the game on a stretcher. Tiago Ilori is a more than capable replacement, with Blackett able to play at left-back, but I'm sure Stam would have rathered the back five we had yesterday. Some decisions to make for the Dutchman.