Scott Parker believes Fulham are moving in the right direction after following up victory at Everton last weekend with a battling 1-1 draw at Burnley on Wednesday evening.
The Cottagers were chasing back-to-back wins for the first time since last July and they went ahead in the 49th minute when Ola Aina unknowingly deflected into the net from Ademola Lookman’s corner in the pouring rain.
Burnley levelled three minutes later through Ashley Barnes as the spoils were shared but, having been 10 points adrift of safety only a few days ago, Fulham are now within six of 17th-placed Newcastle.
The Londoners have a chance to further reduce the deficit as they take on rock-bottom Sheffield United on Saturday night before Newcastle travel to high-flying Manchester United a day later.
“It’s a massive game for us now,” Parker said. “The gap was 10 points, it’s now six. It’s going in the right direction and we’re going into Saturday trying to win that game.
“Our main focus is how we perform to get results in this division but of course the main focus (is to reel in Newcastle).
“I believe we’re very competitive in this league. I feel every game we play, we can win, I honestly do.
“I feel like my team can really go and get results in this division, we’ve proven that. We’ve only won all three all season but we’re very hard to beat and we have got quality.”
That was not good enough tonight.
I’m always self critical, even after strong performances but way too many errors this evening.
— Tosin Adarabioyo (@TosinAdarabioyo) February 17, 2021
While Burnley were largely on top until going behind, Fulham were the stronger team in the second half and had a couple of chances to win, but Parker was satisfied at avoiding defeat at an unhappy hunting ground for his side.
Fulham have not beaten Burnley at Turf Moor since April 1951 – and this was only their sixth draw in their last 31 matches.
“You have to bring something very different,” Parker said. “You get a result here whether that be a point or three, you have to show another side to your game as a team and it probably won’t be as pretty.
“Straight after the game there’s a little bit of disappointment and the lads are disappointed but this is a tough place to come. We have come away with a point.”
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) February 17, 2021
Burnley remain eight points ahead of Fulham but lost Johann Berg Gudmundsson to a hamstring injury in the first half while his replacement Robbie Brady was withdrawn after 65 minutes due to ankle trouble.
A number of first-team players are already on the sidelines and manager Sean Dyche admitted his exasperation with the situation, blaming the hectic schedule in place this season.
“The challenge we’ve had with injuries has been unbelievable,” he said. “We get people fit then they go down injured.
“I’ve been here eight and a half years, I’ve got all the stats, facts and analysis and I’ve never seen anything like it. We’ve had training schedules for eight years so we know what works for us.
“The game schedule is the only thing we can look at, there have been way more games and strange kick-off times – that’s not a gripe but it must have had an effect. But I’m surprised it has had this big of an effect.”