Ola Aina urges Fulham to ‘stay positive’ in bid to escape relegation from Premier League

The Cottagers sit six points from safety after one defeat in six

David Charlesworth
Thursday 18 February 2021 14:40
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Fulham celebrate Ola Aina’s goal
Fulham celebrate Ola Aina’s goal

Ola Aina has faith Fulham will be rewarded for their toil if they keep battling in their bid to beat the drop.

Just a few days ago, the Cottagers sat 10 points adrift of Premier League safety but they upset the odds to beat Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday for just their third win of the season before claiming a 1-1 draw at Burnley.

Aina’s fortuitous goal put Fulham ahead at Turf Moor on Wednesday evening and although Ashley Barnes levelled just three minutes later, the stalemate means Scott Parker’s side are now within six points of 17th-placed Newcastle.

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Fulham could eat into that gap even more on Saturday night as they welcome rock-bottom Sheffield United to Craven Cottage a day before the Magpies travel to Old Trafford to take on high-flying Manchester United.

Aina is convinced the tide will start to turn in Fulham’s favour if they stay positive as he told FFCtv: “We have to keep the belief there, keep the stamina that we’ve been showing in the past couple of months and just keep plugging away.

“It will give way, we’ve just got to stay positive. We just have to pull through this as a team because we know what our end goal is and we know what we want.

“I know myself and everyone else is a bit disappointed (with the draw at Burnley). We thought we could come here and win, and there were moments in the game where I thought we were actually in the ascendancy. It was just a tough game but it’s good we didn’t lose and we come away with a point.”

Fulham took a 49th-minute lead when Joachim Andersen attempted an audacious backheel volley from Ademola Lookman’s corner, succeeding only in feathering through to Aina, who instinctively chested into the net.

“It come off the six-pack. It was flicked on and it actually came so fast, I just six-packed it in,” the Nigerian wing-back added.

Burnley did not trail for long as Jay Rodriguez cleverly skipped into space on the right before squaring to strike partner Barnes, who had a simpler finish despite a poor first touch, which wrongfooted Alphonse Areola.

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“We had to react quickly,” Barnes said on Burnley’s website. “The credit goes to Jay. He did all the work. I was just lucky enough to be in the right position. It probably wasn’t the best of touches, but they all count.”

Barnes’ equaliser means Burnley stay eight points ahead of the bottom three but Rodriguez is taking nothing for granted ahead of the visit of another struggling team in West Brom on Saturday afternoon.

“After being one down and then scoring you felt the momentum change, but fair to play to Fulham, they stuck in and deserved a point,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve just got to keep concentrating on what we can do.

“If we look after how we play and how we approach the games we should be OK. But you never know, so we’ve just got to keep working hard, keep our heads down and when it (safety) comes, it comes.”

PA

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