Scott Parker is optimistic about his side’s Premier League survival hopes and believes Fulham can use Leicester’s great escape six years ago as the perfect inspiration to steer them to safety after a shock victory at Everton.
Josh Maja’s second-half double secured a 2-0 win at Goodison Park on Sunday and saw Parker’s men pick up their first win in 13 league outings – giving the Cottagers renewed belief they can avoid the drop.
The west Londoners are seven points behind 17th placed Newcastle – but have a game in hand over their relegation rivals – with Burnley, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace all on the horizon within a 12-day period.
Parker believes the much-needed three points on Merseyside was just reward for his side’s continued efforts as they battle against the drop, and will look to follow up that win when they visit Sean Dyche’s men on Wednesday evening – with full commentary of the Premier League fixture LIVE on talkSPORT 2.
“It was nothing short than what the team deserved,” Parker told talkSPORT host Jim White. “That was our third win of the season – there’s been a lot of draws.
“It was a good all-round performance – which we’ve probably fallen short on – and we managed to put the ball in the net. It was a big result for us.
“We’re getting to that point [where it’s crunch time]. The games coming up with teams in and around us are going to be vitally important. The team understand that and we very clearly know what we’ve got to do.
“From the outset this year we’ve built and built and the team have progressed in a real way. We’ve come out of [the habit] of being very solid and getting a lot of draws, but we now need to win football matches. With the fixtures coming up, it’s been a key time.”
The Cottagers boss stressed that his side’s experience is relatively modest in comparison to other top-flight sides, but is adamant that his squad’s positive attitude and application can drive them to safety.
He added: “This is a very young team in age, but in development as well. Some of these players are operating in the Premier League for the first time.
“And there is no magic wand – it takes time – but you don’t get that time especially in football. You need to try and get there as quick as you can; otherwise there’s consequences like relegation – or whatever it may be.
“There’s still a lot of football to be played. I remember Leicester a few years ago [2014/15] they were at the same point – maybe a few more games in – and they got out of it.
“I think we’ve seen that a team can put a run together and a team that can play in the right manner can achieve.
“That’s where I feel we are right now with belief and confidence. That’s what gives me hope.”
He continued: “I’ve been involved in two relegations in my time [as a player]; and I’m seeing a group of players here that have constant belief, but more importantly I can see a group whether we’ve won, lost or draw that come in every day that want to improve and want to do better.
“I’m seeing that transition on the pitch, so as long as that continues – certainly when you’re towards the bottom of the table – you’ll always have a chance.
“With the quality we have, I do believe [we can avoid relegation]. We might fall short at times, but one thing I won’t tolerate is falling short through a lack of trying.
“But I’ve got that right now – so that makes my job a lot easier.”