Scott Parker urged his Fulham players to show their pride and professionalism as they head to Southampton on Saturday having already been relegated.
The Cottagers’ most recent stint in the Premier League lasted just one season after they were relegated on Monday following a 2-0 defeat against Burnley.
A number of Fulham’s first-team players are currently on loan deals, and despite the fate of the club already being sealed, Parker insisted his troops will remain focused.
“I’m a professional person and the players are as well, and they have a job to do,” the Fulham boss said.
“They’re employed by the football club, they have a job to do and they’re in the biggest and the most spotlighted league in the world, bar none and every week you go out there that spotlight is shining on you.
“Whether you’re relegated or not there’s a pride and a professionalism that needs to come into place and that’s my message first and foremost to the team.
“Of course like anything, these are the moments when you really see what people are made of and you see what certain traits people have in their character and it’s normally during the tough times.
“I’ve seen that throughout this year with this group of players and they – at many times – have stood up to that and they’ve been strong in that and they’ve got traits that have been positive.
“But like I said you only really test someone’s personality or traits or see that during adversity and now at this moment there can be a lot of excuses, there’s a lot of reasons why maybe one or the other doesn’t need to perform at a level, but the facts are they do.”
Fulham have netted just 25 goals so far this season, fewer than everyone except rock-bottom Sheffield United, and their struggle in the final third was one of a number of problems faced by the club this season.
Following the confirmation of their drop to the Championship, Parker said he had taken a day or two to reflect.
“(I) took some time out initially after the game and the next day, then after just back into what is three games left, so a big game on Saturday,” he said.
“Of course disappointed, there is disappointment around the place, of course there is, because this season ended with relegation for us but as always, this part when you still have three games left to play, there’s a focus which is Southampton and then on to the following week where we’ve got two games left really.
“So not too much reflection as of yet but that’s still to come.”