Cottagers attack classy - Alex

Cottagers attack classy - Alex

Published Aug. 20, 2012 7:16 a.m. ET

After losing strikers Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora over the last six months Fulham were dealt another blow this week after Clint Dempsey, who scored 23 goals last season, refused to play for the Cottagers as he tries to engineer a transfer to Liverpool.

The London club coped admirably without the 29-year-old at Craven Cottage on Saturday, however, as they hammered Norwich 5-0 in the Premier League.

Mladen Petric scored two goals on debut and Damien Duff, Steve Sidwell and Kacaniklic also found the net as Fulham ruined Chris Hughton's bow as Norwich boss.

Had John Ruddy not pulled off a series of good saves, it could have been seven or eight - something which gives Kacaniklic confidence as the club appear resigned to losing Dempsey.


"We're not going to struggle for goals this season because we've got good attacking players," the 21-year-old said.

"We are a good team and we've brought some good players in this summer like Hugo Rodallega, Petric so we have plenty of options."

Kacaniklic is the man who is most likely to benefit from Dempsey's departure should Liverpool finally firm up the initial interest they showed in the American a few weeks ago.

The Swede slotted well in to the Cottagers midfield, terrorising the Canaries defence with a series of lung-bursting runs and clever passes.

It was only the midfielder's third Barclays Premier League start and he is now hoping for more first-team action.

"Hopefully I will get more starts," said Kacaniklic, who signed from Liverpool two years ago.

"It's up to the manager. All I can do is play my best and work hard.

"I found out I was starting yesterday. I was so happy. I couldn't wait for the game. I just wanted it to be Saturday and get on the pitch and play.

"It was really good. I've been working hard to get in the starting XI and then to get the first goal, especially at Craven Cottage, it's really good."

Kacaniklic moved to Craven Cottage in 2010 as part of the deal that saw Paul Konchesky move to Anfield.

The youngster had to wait patiently to make an impact at Fulham. He did not play a match in his first season and then went on loan to Watford last term.

"I was happy at Liverpool," he said. "It was up to me if I wanted to leave.

"Fulham really wanted me and I wanted to come here. Now it looks like it was a pretty good move."

Having had a successful pre-season, Norwich manager Hughton was stunned by his team's collapse in west London.

The former Newcastle manager is already under pressure to emulate the achievements of his predecessor Paul Lambert, but he is convinced his players will bounce back from the big defeat.

"I am bitterly disappointed with how comfortably we conceded the goals but we have to look forward and get this one out of our system as quick as possible," he said.

"There are numerous teams who will have these kind of results this season. We have to make sure that we bounce back.

"We will go through the video on Monday with the players and start again."

Hughton has had a busy summer, signing Steven Whittaker, Jacob Butterfield, Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner.

The Canaries boss has not finished his recruitment drive yet, however.

"We will continue to try to strengthen the squad if we can," Hughton said.

"We have made lots of enquiries. We are working very hard like every one else is."