Fulham manager Kit Symons was quick to praise Ross McCormack as his side beat Sheffield United 3-0 at Craven Cottage in the Capital One Cup second round.
Two goals in the second half from McCormack and a strike by Moussa Dembele proved to be the difference between the sides, in a game that was ultimately comfortable for the Sky Bet Championship outfit.
Sheffield United finished the game with nine men following the late dismissals of Jose Baxter and Kieran Wallace.
Fulham took the lead in the 62nd minute after McCormack was tugged back in the area by Craig Alcock. The Fulham captain made no mistake from the penalty spot by sending goalkeeper George Long the wrong way.
McCormack made sure of his side’s progression with a low drive from the edge of the box past Long, while Dembele was foiled by Long who kept out his 77th-minute bullet header.
The dismissals of Baxter for a lunge on Tom Cairney and Wallace for a professional foul on Dembele compounded the misery, before the Frenchman finally netted with a strike outside the box in injury time.
Symons said “We needed a win, it was as simple as that. Ideally I was after a performance and a win and I think we got both. I was very pleased overall.
“Ross looked very sharp tonight, he’s worked incredibly hard in pre-season, he’s the sharpest and the fittest he’s been since he’s been here at the club.
“You want to see that rewarded - he was a bit disappointed in the first four league games as we all were, so it’s good to see him up and running.
“Dembele needs to become more clinical in front of goal, because he had numerous chances, but many of them he created himself with his pace and his power. He worked very hard.
“Because of the way the results have gone we needed a good performance. There were a lot of boxes that needed to be ticked and thankfully we’ve done all that - we’ve played well.”
United manager Nigel Adkins felt his side were still in the game until the second goal from McCormack.
“We’ve come here against a good side in Fulham. We could have gone ahead at the very beginning, from Martyn Woolford,” Adkins said.
“Unfortunately it was a penalty on the hour, and we’re still in the game. We were conscious of the kind of substitutions we could make during the game.
“We turned our back and then they got the second one, and really the disappointing thing is the stupid challenge from Jose Baxter, to get himself sent off - it was a reckless challenge.
“At the very end, we’ve got caught on the counter and Kieran, who has been magnificent for us, unfortunately tugged back on the player and gave the referee no option but to send him off.
“So that was the most frustrating bit, the last 10 minutes. Obviously I’ve had a few words with Jose.”
Fulham: Lonergan, Richards, Ream, Burn, Voser, Kacaniklic, Tunnicliffe, Christensen, Pringle, McCormack, Dembele. Subs: Lewis, Bodurov, Cairney, Woodrow, Hyndman, Kavanagh, Cole.
Sheff Utd: Long, Alcock, McGahey, Kieran Wallace, McFadzean, De Girolamo, Reed, James Wallace, Woolford, McNulty, Higdon. Subs: Howard, Freeman, Baxter, Sammon, Adams, Dimaio, Edgar.
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