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Fulham ace calls for fight not pretty football at Stoke

Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah (right) in action against Arsenal. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA wire Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah (right) in action against Arsenal. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA wire

Friday, November 23, 2012
4:54 PM

Ashkan Dejagah believes Fulham need to forget their free-flowing football and show some fight at Stoke tomorrow.

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The Cottagers have been one of the most entertaining teams in the Barclays Premier League this season, scoring 25 goals in their opening 12 matches.

However, summer signing Dejagah knows they will need to show a grittier side at the Britannia Stadium if they are to get a positive result.

“The players tell me that Stoke are very direct and it’s not easy to play at their ground,” the winger told official website fulhamfc.com.

“They have some big players and they like to play long balls.

“We must fight in this game - it’s not a match to play football. If we fight for each other we can win this game.”

Mahamadou Diarra and Chris Baird return for tomorrow’s match and will no doubt help to shore up the midfield.

Martin Jol’s side will be without a number of players, though, as captain Brede Hangeland is unavailable through suspension and Bryan Ruiz and Mickael Tavares are both injured.

Wingers Alex Kacaniklic and Kieran Richardson are also out, but Dejagah is happy to fill the void on the left if called upon.

“The right is my favourite but I’ve played on the left before for Wolfsburg,” the Iran international said.

“The manager is the boss and he will decide who will play there on Saturday.”

Dejagah will be hoping to return to the starting line-up after being named among the substitutes for last weekend’s disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Sunderland.

He has been on the bench more often than not since his move from the Bundesliga, thanks in no small part to the injury that sidelined him when he first moved to west London.

Dejagah is now back to full fitness, though, and looking to build on his lone start at the Emirates Stadium, where Fulham held Arsenal to a 3-3 draw.

“It was a big game for me,” he said. “It was my first match for Fulham from the beginning and it was against Arsenal at an amazing stadium.

“It was a good game. It ended 3-3 so we were very happy to score three goals at Arsenal.

“I was very happy that the manager gave me the chance to start the game. It showed he believes in me.

“I feel very good after my injury. The physios have been great and I’m very happy here. It’s good to now be involved with the first team.

“Every player has been great with me and the games have also been good apart from the last one.

“We were disappointed to lose against Sunderland but now we must look to the next game against Stoke and hope we can play better.”

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Fulham

Nickname: The Whites

Ground: Craven Cottage (capacity 25,700)

Founded: 1879

Honours: Second Division: 1949, 2001.

Third Division: 1932, 1999.

Southern League: 1906, 1907.

Leading goalscorer: Gordon Davies, 178.

Leading appearances: Johnny Haynes, 658.