Tough start for Ruiz - Kelly

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Football News

Fulham defender Stephen Kelly believes new team-mate Bryan Ruiz had a "baptism of fire" against Blackburn on Sunday but backed him to flourish at Craven Cottage.

Much of the talk in the pre-match build-up focused on Costa Rica international Ruiz, who arrived on deadline day from FC Twente in a deal worth £10.6million. However, the 26-year-old struggled on his Fulham debut and was substituted by manager Martin Jol at half-time, which team-mate Kelly believes was a good move.

"It was a baptism of fire, especially when you're coming into a game against Blackburn or someone like Stoke," said Kelly.

"The Premier League is a very different league and you don't get to take two or three touches on the ball, but he is going to learn. He's a talented boy, he has come in and I am sure he will play well for us and for the club.

"It is just going to be a little bit of a learning curve in the first couple of games. I think the manager was right in what he did. He gave him a half and a taste of things so for the next few games he knows maybe what he needs to do.

"But it is a difficult one. You know you're going to get challenges flying in and in the Premier League that is what the game is like. That is what it is all about and it takes players time to adjust but I am sure he will."

Ruiz was one of several late signings made by Jol in a bid to bolster his ailing side. The Cottagers have secured two points from a possible 12 but Kelly believes the signs are promising.

"It's not a great [start]," he said. "We've had a couple of difficult away games and we've never been famed for our away form.

"But two draws from home is not really like us. We normally convert those draws into wins and it has been a bit disappointing. In the games we've had at home, I think we've had the majority of chances and possession but have come away without getting a win, which is disappointing.

"But it is early on the season. There is a new manager, new staff, new players and we're starting to gel. I think it will come and there were glimpses of it there, especially in the second half where we were putting on the pressure and the crowd were really getting behind us."

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Stoke City
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Stephen Kelly

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