BY MATT VERRI
Scott Parker is refusing to see any of Fulham’s difficult upcoming fixtures as free hits.
The west London club travel to Leicester and Manchester City before hosting Liverpool in their next three matches – the Cottagers picked up just one point from the six games against those teams when they were last in the top-flight two seasons ago.
Parker remains hopeful his team will be able to compete with some of the division’s top sides.
“You can’t sit here thinking the next three games are a write off, let’s just try and get out of here with not too much punishment,” he said.
“They’re tough games, but history tells me that if you do things the right way you can get something.
“If you apply yourself, do the basics well, and ride a little bit of luck along the way, you can get results.
“We’re competing with the big heavyweights who have had financial backing for many years. It’s going to be difficult.
“That’s not to say we don’t have the quality to stay up, and we’re going to try our hardest to do that.
“Do I believe we can stay in this division? One million percent I do.”
The difficult run starts on Monday night when Fulham travel to the King Power Stadium, but the Fulham boss believes his side can take real positives from the way they finished their last match against Everton.
“They’re a very good side, and Brendan has done a fantastic job there,” Parker said.
“They have a lot of quality in their ranks, and we understand it will be a tough game. But these are challenges we look forward to – this is why we worked so relentlessly to get out of the Championship, to play in these matches.
“We’ve got players in our team that can cause any team problems. We saw against Everton that when we move the ball quickly with good forward runs, we can hurt teams.
“That’s going to be no different against Leicester, and it’s an area where we’d like to put our mark on the game.
“The second-half performance against Everton should be a blueprint for us. We still had our identity and the control, but we added more of an intent and a respect for the basics of the game.”
Ruben Loftus-Cheek impressed off the bench against Everton, winning a penalty and scoring his first goal since arriving at the club on loan.
His manager was full of praise after that performance, and ahead of the Leicester match Parker re-iterated his belief that the midfielder has much to offer the team.
“I see him as someone to get in between the lines, to create and score goals, and drive a team and be very creative,” he said.
“He needs that real run of games, and that real clarity in what’s going to define him and an understanding of what he is as a player.
“He can play off the sides, coming inside the pitch, as a 10 – there’s not just one position up for grabs, we can be flexible in how we set up and play. If you get him between the lines, he has those qualities and attributes.”
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