Christian's Wee Problem

Christian Dailly was booked for timewasting during the Fulham game - and proceeded to get in a further delay after the match.

Fans at Craven Cottage were puzzled when Christian threw down his Lucozade bottle in anger as the players celebrated their third away victory of the season on Monday.

But, when approached by sports scientist John McCarthy on the pitch, Christian was clearly none too pleased.

The reason? He had just been informed that he was going to be one of the players drugs tested after the game.

Not [unlike compatriot Willie Johnstone in 1978] that he had anything to hide - just that Christian knows he is a little, er, tardy when it comes to providing the required urine sample.

Taking up the story, he says:

"I was told I was getting a drugs test and it is the fifth time since I came here to England, plus I've been done twice at internationals - it is always me and I was just thinking 'why me again?'; some boys can go four or five years without one."

Players are breathalysed as well - which meant that not even a sip or two of the Harrods beer at Craven Cottage could be consumed to speed the process up.

So it was a case of waiting...and waiting, until well past 6 o' clock, with the team us roaring away into the distance.

"It takes me at least a couple of hours before I even feel like weeing and that's why I get frustrated - but I got there in the end.

"Trevor Sinclair is frightening, he just came in and did it; I don't know how he manages it, he's just lucky, I suppose.

"You are very dehydrated after the game and that is the problem; you just have to try to get as many fluids in after the game that you can and it just takes a bit of time - or a long time, in my case.

"I nearly got a red card from the club doctor because he was wanting to get away!"

Indeed, there was no celebratory beer even after Christian got the job done, as all thoughts immediately turn to Saturday.

"We were back in yesterday for a warm down," he says, "and preparing for Saturday's game against Charlton, having got ourselves in a decent position now.

"It is important to keep it going; it would be easy to sit on our laurels and to be fair to the boys we could have done that after Saturday because we got ourselves to 40 points, so we could have just sat there and said 'we are doing okay'.

"But we certainly don't want to finish any lower than eighth and we are chasing Tottenham; we want to catch them and we still have to play them - that is the target.

"We have always been wanting to get up there but it was so tight and we don't have to look over our shoulder now; we can be looking to get ourselves as high up the table as we can.

"The positions above seventh are a bit out of the way but got to target that place; it is almost like a second league that has formed and we would love to finish top of that, it would be great - but it is going to take a lot of hard work.

"There are a lot of important games coming up, and I think the fans deserve that we give everything to try to get up to that spot.

"Nobody knows what would qualify for Europe; I think the target is to finish as high up as we possibly can, and if the place did come about you would take Europe with open arms.

"We have been progressing as the season goes on; I think it takes a bit of time with a new manager coming in.

"He has got great ideas and a great backroom staff, and it was obviously going to take a bit of time to consolidate.

"But we have not had too many consistent downers during the season, we have always been able to bounce back, and I think we are looking more solid now than we have ever done since the manager came, so hopefully we can keep everyone fit, because the squad is quite tight."

As for that booking for timewasting, Christian says:

"I couldn't understand the decision because David James was standing behind me shouting telling me to put it in the corner and I turned round to look at him, turned round again and the referee was coming to book me.

"But to actually try to get you to go quicker rather than normal pace it was getting played at before?

"I don't think you have to rush to help the other team, you just have to play it the way you always play it - but never mind, referees love doing things like that, it is another tick in their book."

He admits he can't understand the fuss being made about Paolo Di Canio being substituted, and says:

"It was just tactical; strikers get taken off in games pretty regularly, and they had a couple of theirs taken off - that's just the way it goes, but Paolo is fully behind the team."

And he is full of praise with how the side coped with the enforced substitution in the first half when Vladimir Labant went off injured.

"Seb did great at left back and Ian Pearce did brilliantly - he has done really well since he came back from his injury," he says.

"I was dead pleased for him especially as he came on in extremely difficult circumstances; he helped us a lot and also at set pieces with his physical presence."

Although Christian collected a fifth booking on Monday, he will not be suspended as the 'cut off' period for five bookings leading to a one match ban was the end of February.