Thoughts From the Doctor: Fulham’s Mental Lapses

19th March 2018
Photo: Press Association

Fulham found themselves in favorable position right before the half time whistle, but allowed QPR back into the game with continuous mental lapses. Dr. Greg Margolis explains how focus and attention can make or break a team’s performance.

The Whites got off to a flying start against QPR, building a 2-0 lead just before the half-time whistle. Yet Fulham had looked somewhat suspect when possessing the ball around their own half, and were giving the ball away cheaply to QPR in very dangerous areas.

Considering that it has been possession and precision that has fueled Fulham’s success, the lack of it was astonishing at times—culminating in a idiotic foul in first-half injury time, that led to QPR scoring from a set piece and completely stunting Fulham’s momentum going into the break.

Cairney’s clinical finish opened the scoring (Photo: REX FEATURES)

The second half was filled with chances from QPR and more inconsistency on the ball for Fulham. If it wasn’t for Bettinelli pulling off a number of heroics on multiple occasions , QPR would have taken the lead over the Whites, almost certainly through ex-Fulham man Matt Smith.

To top it all off, Odoi decided to stand on the ball in our own half, instead of getting the ball out of the danger area, and provided QPR an open lane to score the equaliser. From a performance standard, Fulham didn’t execute their possession style of play, but from a psychological perspective, Fulham looked to have continuous mental lapses throughout the entire match.

QPR found parity on Fulham’s mistakes (Photo: Rex Features)

Focus and attention are extremely important in the game of football. Minuscule lapses in focus can lead to opponents quickly changing the course of the match, as seen by the goal given up by Odoi. The teams that are able to minimize mental lapses, tend to the be ones who are more successful.

Attention is a skill, something that can be trained, and Fulham have been incredible, during this run of form, at maintaining their focus throughout the entirety of any given game—look at the late winners against Barnsley and Preston, and at the game-savong challenges at Derby. This makes the result against QPR very strange.

Hopefully it was a one game dip that was inevitably coming, but the team must find a way to minimise mental lapses down the home stretch. Fulham have a favourable schedule, and a playoff spot nearly secured.

With a few more wins, and hopefully some mental lapses from the teams around us, Fulham still have the opportunity for automatic promotion, though this was a big blow in continuing an immediate push for the Premier League. We shall see how the Whites respond against Norwich, a team who we’ve already conceded a late equaliser to once this season.

COYW!

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Greg Margolis

Fulhamish's United States contributor. Bringing some American flair, tactical analysis, Sport Psychology perspectives, and contributing content on the all things Fulham. All Hail Clint Dempsey.