Fulham FanZoner Andy Lye reflects on the Cottagers' poor showing at Southampton and asks, "can we beat anyone playing like that?"
So much for an improvement, huh?
Sure, there's no great shame in losing away to Southampton this season given their form, but the manner in which we did it clearly indicates the back-to-back wins against Stoke and Crystal Palace were not the change in quality some people wanted them to be.
The 90 minutes at St. Mary's might just have been the worst game we've played so far this term. Even Martin Jol had no excuses afterwards. Is there anyone in the league we can expect to beat playing like that? Conceding soft goals and creating nothing more than a single speculative off-target shot?
We only have Maarten Stekelenburg to thank for not losing by more. It was a shame for David Stockdale to be dumped from the team as soon as Maarten was fit again, but his form had been very poor, it wasn't entirely unfair, not like on previous occasions when he filled in for the constantly shaky Mark Schwarzer only to be kicked back out after doing well.
Rickie Lambert's goal should have been cut out when it reached Jay Rodriguez, who was able to head the corner on virtually unmarked to a completely solitary Lambert, left alone purely because Dimitar Berbatov couldn't be bothered to mark him, no matter how much Scott Parker tried to make him. And what was Phillippe Senderos even doing when Rodriguez ghosted past him on the way to the second?
Is this even a salvageable situation with what we've got at our disposal?
I mean, we'd pretty much be guaranteed to lose our next two games under any circumstances anyway. Manchester United have far too much quality to lose to a side as lacking in confidence and creativity as ours, even away, and Liverpool are untouchable at home at the moment. Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez probably fancy a hat-trick each in that one.
Then it's Swansea at home, which should be winnable, but we'll be on the back of at least three consecutive defeats by then, possibly even four if we go up to Leicester City in the League Cup and get beaten. Our confidence could be so low by then, they'll walk over us too. West Ham away is always difficult, and then Aston Villa arrive desperate for points.
Honestly, if we play as we did on Saturday against Leicester on Tuesday, we'll lose. Leicester are playing very well at the moment, and if I were a Championship supporter (which it would appear before long I may very well be) and my team had to host a Premiership side in the cup, Fulham would be my first choice for the best chance of getting the win.
Either way, something has to change. And it's getting to the point where I don't care what that is. I'll support the sacking of Martin Jol, completely re-shuffling most of the starting 11, even replacing the first team with the under 19s. Anything to get 11 men on the field at the same time who care, and will generate some excitement and create something that might actually trouble the opposition.
I think some of them need to be given something to play for, because at the moment the likes of Berbatov, Bent, and Ruiz seem to have no motivation to do well. And where even is Adel Taarabt? Presumably he's not even motivated enough to put enough effort into training to get a place on the bench.
What probably isn't helping some of the others is Martin Jol constantly putting them down when asked for comments about them in interviews. He probably sees it as trying to stop any major fuss over our players before it starts, in case it sparks other teams into action in the January transfer window, but it can't be doing certain players any good to read or hear one negative for every positive their manager gives them in the open press.
Just last week he praised the contributions of Pajtim Kasami, only to point out he has a lot to learn and isn't the best player around at the moment. That second part doesn't need saying. The boy is 21, it stands to reason he's not the best in the league, because if he were he sure as hell wouldn't be at Fulham, and obviously he's got things to learn because he's so young.
He added that if Juventus (or presumably anyone else) wants to offer us a lot of money for Kasami, "that would be good for everyone".
No Martin, it wouldn't. Pajtim is one of the very few players we have playing with passion, we can't afford to lose him right now at any price. Lastly: "I told him to count his blessings and to be happy at that age playing Premier League football."
So it's luck now, and not his hard work over the last two years to get into our team? Or your stubborn ideas keeping him out? That's a great message to be sending.
He did the same thing when answering questions on the extension that's been offered to Steve Sidwell, revealing that the club are offering him a shorter deal than he wants.
Sometimes I think it would be much better for all of us if he just stopped talking. Let Billy McKinley do the interviews. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't make our squad or supporters feel any worse than Martin is doing.