Josh Maja says his double for Fulham at Everton relieves the pressure

Carl Markham, PA

Fulham’s new goalscoring hero Josh Maja admits getting off the mark early in his Cottagers’ career is a weight off his shoulders.

The 22-year-old scored twice on his full debut for the club following his deadline-day loan move from Bordeaux to secure a 2-0 win at Everton which ended a run of 12 matches without victory.

It moved third-bottom Fulham to within seven points of safety ahead of a crucial week crucial to their survival hopes with matches against Burnley and bottom side Sheffield United.

Maja’s goals, both poacher’s efforts from close range, were his first since October 17 in a 3-1 defeat to Marseille in Ligue 1.

However, it took him less than 60 minutes’ playing time for his new club to find the net.

“Its a great day. I’m happy and the team is happy and hopefully we can continue,” Maja told FFC TV.

Everton v Fulham – Premier League – Goodison Park
Fulham’s Josh Maja (centre) celebrates with Ola Aina (left) and Tosin Adarabioyo after scoring his second goal at Goodison Park (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

“It’s been a while since I started a game so I was happy to get that and I’m hoping to continue performances like this.

“It is a weight off my shoulders. I felt coming in I would get opportunities and I was glad to take them.”

Maja first came to prominence as a youth team prospect promoted to the first team in the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die, which first aired a couple of years ago.

His move from League One to Ligue 1 saw him score 11 goals in 46 appearances for Bordeaux, helping him win one cap for Nigeria in 2019, but it meant the burgeoning talent which was first showcased on the small screen for thousands of households who would not normally see a Sunderland game has largely gone unnoticed.

Maja hopes to change that given the chance at Craven Cottage.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers – Sky Bet League One – Stadium of Light
Maja first showed his ability to an English audience on Wearside (Richard Sellers/PA)

“They (the fans) got a glimpse of it but I feel like I have more to show,” he added.

“The performance is important and I want to give my best to the team, not just goals.

“It gives us big confidence. We know we need to keep picking up wins, we have been drawing and losing a few the last few games, and we are hoping to go into the next few games confident we can win.

“It is a big win. We’re hoping to continue this form and move up the league.”

Manager Scott Parker has refused to worry about their plight so far this season and so he is not about to start counting points now.

Instead, he wants to concentrate on the work, of which he believes a lot has gone unrewarded so far.

“We have some big games coming up but the remaining games of this year for us are going to be massive,” he said.

“I don’t really concentrate on the league table and what teams are doing around us.

“Our sole focus is to come in every day and improve. We need to win matches, I know that. We’ve drawn a lot of games.

“This is a confident team. You don’t play football like we play football, these players don’t move the ball like they move the ball, if they didn’t have confidence.”

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