It is not often that a defeat without scoring acts as good preparation for a crunch match away against a relegation rival.
But Manchester City are so good and Fulham have been so leaky this season that the 2-0 defeat Slavisa Jokanovic’s side suffered in the EFL Cup on Thursday can be viewed in a positive light.
There is plenty to be taken from making the best side in the country – rotated side or otherwise – work hard to get their place in the quarter finals of the competition they are the current holders of, when the season so far has seen Fulham give up too many chances at will.
Fulham were 20/1 to win at the Etihad, so belief was never going to be high among a squad that has struggled so far this season and is still getting used to each other after a host of late-window summer arrivals.
But a performance of the cohesion and spirit repeated at the John Smith Stadium against Huddersfield on Monday night should be enough to get a result against a side who have been woefully impotent thus far.
Jokanovic did an exceptional job in the Championship, but must start resisting the urge to tinker with his backline too much. Yet the City performance showed the players are still with him; now they must show it again to get a result against the Terriers.