Confident Crossley

Friday 11 January 2002

Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Crossley is enjoying life at the top and is confident his side can keep a clean sheet at Craven Cottage on Saturday - but admits scoring at the other end might prove difficult.

Boro's in form 32 year old stopper told the Official Middlesbrough website:

"I'm really enjoying things at the moment. Obviously I'm full of confidence playing behind a back four which have been quite solid for me. We've struck up a good relationship and long may it continue."

"I think you build confidence up by playing games at the highest level and if you're keeping clean sheets in the Premier League then you must be doing something right."

He continued:

"I'm told I'm doing things right so that's good enough for me really. We all know that goalscoring is a problem for us at the moment, but hopefully that will come right.

"We're not playing particularly well, but we've been scrapping results out. But no, that isn't extra pressure on us, we all have a job to do and if we were scoring a bagful every game it doesn't mean we could take it easy at the back.

"We beat Everton on New Year's Day which was a massive result and with Southampton beating Liverpool last night it shows how vital that win over Everton was.

"With results like that coming I think we are going to have to scrap a few more wins.

"I'm a big believer in thinking positively, so I think we can realistically aim to push higher. But then again you have to look over your shoulder because that gap is getting tighter and tighter.

"We have a run of games coming up where we should pick up points. Hopefully that's going to happen and we can steadily climb up the league and stop looking over our shoulders."

Crossley then went on the heap praise on Jean Tigana's Fulham saying:

"It will be tough they are an excellent team. They struggled against Wycombe on Tuesday, but they are better than that normally.

"But who knows? Their confidence may have been dented by being so close to going out of the cup to a second division team. If we win we get very close to them."

The Boro' Keeper' isn't so sure about visiting Fulham's mainly terraced stadium believing that it possibly helps create an intimidating atmosphere:

"A couple of years ago I was recovering from injury with Forest and went on loan to Millwall.

"We got a 2-1 win and I hope the result is the same, but I know it is a tight ground with a good atmosphere and whether that has anything to do with the terraces I don't know.

"It's an enclosed atmosphere and it will be difficult, but I think we are progressing and we have a sold foundation with the defence we have.

"Hopefully when the goals start flowing - they have to soon, it can't go on forever - we'll be okay.

"Fulham have pace everywhere around their team. Saha has struggled to find the net as much as he did last season but he's an excellent player.

"Boa Morte is like lightning and Fulham are like so many teams in the Premiership these day, they work around pace.

"It's difficult to combat, but hopefully we can do it."