Scott Parker insists he is not deluded over the scale of the uphill battle facing Fulham as they fight to remain in the Premier League.
The Cottagers head to Chelsea on Saturday looking for a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979, and are currently seven points adrift of safety in 18th place.
Fulham had been on the verge of their first-ever away win over Arsenal in their last outing, only for the Gunners to score a last-gasp equaliser and deliver a blow to Parker’s men’s hopes of Premier League safety.
Having struggled for goals for a large part of the season, Fulham have now conceded late on in their last two matches, at the Emirates and against Wolves at Craven Cottage and even the manager had to admit it was becoming harder to instil belief in his squad.
“It’s difficult because the games are running out. Like anything that’s the next challenge,” Parker said.
“I think the one thing I want to get across here is that I understand that there is a difficult challenge ahead of us and it is a hard task. I’m not deluded in any way.
“I never want to try and blind my players or give them some hope that maybe isn’t there. So everything I’m saying is coming from a place that I firmly believe and I want my players to understand that.”
Fulham had clawed back from 10 points adrift earlier in the season to within three points of safety, but have slumped recently, securing just one point from their last five matches.
Despite recent results, Parker wants to take encouragement from his side’s performance of late.
“I firmly believe that you can’t be that close (in matches), like it has been, and be a dead and buried team.
“You can’t be that close with the last kick of the game at the Emirates, you can’t be that close when we narrowly missed out on certain games this year.
“The difference between one Saturday to the next is a difference between us being dead and buried or us having a fighting chance or we’re going to survive now. When it is that close then there has to be belief.
“We lost to Wolves, and we were ‘dead’, I came out and faced the cameras and it was ‘ah, you’re gone, you’ve got no chance, absolutely no chance’.
“And then as quickly as that happened, if we had beaten Arsenal, the narrative would have been much different. When it can change that quick, then it’s different. And that’s why I believe.”
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