After losing 3-1 to Cardiff City on Saturday, Fulham remain dead last in the Premier League table. The Cottagers are currently four points from safety, although West Brom have a game in hand, while Sunderland, in 19th, have three games to make up.
Yet Felix Magath, who has now presided over one draw and two losses, remains confident that Fulham will avoid the drop. When asked if his side can still avoid relegation, the manager responded with a simple “yes.”
Magath continued: “We have got nine games and 27 points to play for which is a lot but in our situation. We have to win our home games like Cardiff have done today.” He went on to say, “The only thing that can help us (confidence wise) is a win next week against Newcastle. We will work in defending better.”
Considering Fulham has the worst defense in the league, having conceded 65 goals in 29 matches, tightening up in the back would be a start. But can the Cottagers really reach safety this season?
In addition to Newcastle next week, Fulham face Manchester City, Everton, and Tottenham in their last nine games. They will have to travel to the Britannia, where Stoke have lost just twice this season. It’s difficult to see them collecting enough points to survive. Particularly when others at the bottom of the table - Sunderland, Crystal Palace - are showing plenty of improvement. Unless the Cottagers have some sort of revelation, it’s difficult to see them collecting more than four or five points from their final run-in.
But nothing Fulham has tried is seeming to work. Their expensive January signing, Kostas Mitroglou, failed to impress at Cardiff. Giving young Cauley Woodrow his first start was a nice touch from Magath, but he had little impact on the match. Ashkan Dejagah was dreadful. John Arne Riise shouldn’t have been on the pitch. And Sascha Riether, who put in an own goal, simply had a nightmare of a game.
It’s nice that Magath remains optimistic. But is it realistic?