Scott Parker insisted Fulham have given themselves a “fighting chance” of remaining in the Premier League after their upturn of recent results.
The Cottagers were eight points adrift of safety before their 2-0 victory against Everton – which was their first ever league win at Goodison Park – on Valentine’s Day.
Those three points, then only Fulham’s third victory of the season, kick-started a run of form which included a hard-fought draw at Burnley and a crucial home win over Sheffield United.
Fulham now sit just three points behind Newcastle and are unbeaten in their last four matches, ahead of their short trip to Selhurst Park on Sunday.
And Parker remains focused on his own squad rather than other people’s opinions on Fulham’s survival chances.
“It’s not my job to persuade, it’s not my job, it’s not my target and it’s not my aim to be honest with you to persuade people about it, to convince people we’re a decent team – it’s an irrelevance to me,” Parker said.
“My sole aim is what I see and the belief I see in this team and giving the team belief to operate and execute in this division and I feel we’ve done that over a long period of time now.
“That’s the main focus and at the end of it, there’s no right and wrongs.
“Our aim is to stay in this division, at the moment with 13 games left, we’ve given ourselves a fighting chance.
“There’s still going to be some battles along the way and I think we all understand that but we’ve given ourselves a chance.”
Fulham will also be boosted by the return of last season’s Sky Bet Championship Golden Boot winner Aleksandar Mitrovic for the game against Roy Hodgson’s men.
Mitrovic tested positive for coronavirus ahead of Fulham’s win at Everton but was starting to find his feet again after a difficult season, which sees his goal drought stretch back to September, and Parker acknowledged the issues he has faced.
“It’s been difficult for Mitro, certainly at the start of the season was relentless in the pursuit of getting us into the Premier League and then a quick turnaround,” Parker added.
“He had an injury at the back end of last season and he didn’t play in the (play-off) final because of that, so yeah I think he’d be the first to say it’s been a bit stop-start.
“But my constant message to Mitro, to the team and to the players is ‘keep facing up and keep working hard’.
“It’s very cliche and sounds just like words but there’s more in it than just working hard, there’s detail, there’s training habits, there’s that constant belief in wanting to get better.
“I’m a firm believer and my history and my experiences tell me that if you do that and I’ve done that it’s worked and I’ve come out the other side – so that’s my constant message to Mitro.”