No Mo, no Endo, no problemo.
Another game where we've had to show our fighting qualities and have come through once again with flying colours. Wasn't the convincing 4-0 win we would of wanted to make the second leg irrelevant but it's a win to take to Craven Cottage and the truth is, I don't fancy Fulham to beat us so we're all but booked in Wembley as far as I'm concerned.
A weakened team due to enforced changes and they still couldn't get the job done against us. Even when our skipper has his worst half for about six months, they still couldn't get the job done against us. Even when we played into their hands, they couldn't get the job done against us. And even when yet another blatant handball gets turned down against us, they couldn't get the job done.
Proud day for Academy as well with a couple of lads who've come through the ranks shining brightest last night.
2024 - three matches, three different competitions, three wins. Can't argue with that.
Kelleher - a solid game from the Irishman, couldn't do much with the goal. When he was called into action, he was up to the challenge. He really seems to enjoy this competition.
Bradley - F***ing immense young man. Couple of us were talking this lad up in the summer when people said we had to go out and sign a right back, and while a good 20 minutes against Arsenal and a man of the match performance last night doesn't prove he's the next Phil Neal, it certainly doesn't hurt his chances either. Should have an assist to his name but Nunez couldn't finish thanks to a good save from Leno.
Konate - pretty sure I read someone blaming him for every Fulham chance, well F**k me I watched a different game then. He was an absolute beast again in the game I watched. His pace and strength is top drawer. He's commanding and starting to become a real leader back there.
Van Dijk - had a poor first half but second half he put that right and was looking as good as he has done in recent weeks. I'm not worried by the first half performance because he did put it right so quickly.
Gomez - didn't get his goal but he's still trying. Good effort from just outside the box. Got caught out of position a couple of times but this is what I meant by playing into their hands. Their gameplan was to soak up the pressure and hit us on the break, we allowed them to do that by pushing our entire back line into their half. But Joe put in another good performance at left back.
Gravenberch - his form is becoming a worry now. He started to show signs of himself at the start of the second half but he's been really poor for a while now. I get he's in and out the team as well as maybe still not fully fit following the hamstring injury he got against United. There was a time earlier in the season where I felt he was the first name of the midfield three for me but that's not the case now. Hopefully he can refind that form he showed earlier on in the season.
Mac Allister - I don't recall anything he did in the game other than take most set pieces, which I think really highlights how Fulham played. Our central midfielder was in a bit of no-mans land for the game. They didn't really play through us so he didn't have to do much defending and they sat so deep that he couldn't really play the ball into dangerous areas. All he could do really was lay it off to the nearest Red shirt and hope for magic from elsewhere.
Jones - ran his bollocks off and got himself another goal. Kept it all fairly simple and it was effective. A bit like Mac Allister, the way Fulham set up prevented us from being overly creative. But Jones has the ability to go past a couple of players with his dribbling skills as we saw last night.
Elliott - it looked like the jeers from the away fans really got to him because he seemed intent on making something happen and unfortunately he didn't. I like Harvey as a midfielder but when he plays further forward he doesn't have the same effect on games. Was no surprise to see him brought off.
Jota - looked the most likely to score of anyone in Red and certainly improved when the subs came on. His fitness will be key for the run in.
Diaz - had one of his quieter games in recent weeks but like many others I think that was more to how Fulham set up. No space for him to go on his dazzling runs.
Gakpo - lovely taken goal, which makes him our joint second goalscorer this season along with Jota on nine goals. Three in his last six appearances, proving his quality in front of goal. His introduction, alongside Nunez, really gave us a kick up the arse and got us going. Be interesting to see who Jürgen goes with as his front three in the next couple of games.
Nunez - causes havoc whenever he's on the pitch. He may not be the most clinical but he creates space for others to exploit. Defenders know he needs marking. And it's one more option for Jürgen to choose from.
Overall, it's a good win under difficult circumstances. It gives us an advantage going into the second leg, it keeps our good form up and it's a big chance for us to win our tenth League Cup.
And this big month everyone was talking about is starting to look like it's gonna be a very good one for us.
Well in Reds.