Bryan Ruiz believes Fulham can play with ‘no pressure’ at Newcastle United on Sunday (3pm).
The Whites’ 3-2 win over West London rivals Queens Park Rangers on Monday night extended our unbeaten run to five and took Martin Jol’s troops to the 39-point mark for the season.
In comparison, Newcastle sit just three points above the drop zone after two straight defeats. They were also beaten 3-1 by SL Benfica in their UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final First Leg on Thursday night.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game as Newcastle really need the points,” Ruiz told the official website. “But they have the pressure; they need to win. We are playing well so if we do the things we’ve been doing, then we will be fine and can play with no pressure.”
Last season’s surprise package, the Magpies may have failed to hit the same heights this term but Ruiz is still wary of the threat Alan Pardew’s men can pose.
“Newcastle are doing well in the Europa League which shows they are a good team,” said Ruiz. “They had a bad period this season but they still have some very good players and we’ll need to take care of them.”
The Whites are now just a point behind ninth-place Swansea City with a game in hand on the Welsh outfit. But Ruiz is looking even further up the table, stating: “We really want to win on Sunday as it will put us in a very good position to try and catch ninth, eighth or even seventh place. We’re looking forward to the game.”
The victory over struggling Rangers was hard-fought; Fulham had to defend heroically towards the end of the match having initially raced into a 3-0 lead.
“They were important points but we made it more complicated that we should have done,” reflected Ruiz. “We had it at 3-0 but then at the end of the first half we gave away one ball and it cost us and they made it 3-1.
“When they got it back to 3-1 they started to believe and it was difficult. We started sloppily in the second half and it was very hard.
“But we got the win and we take confidence from every game we play well in and take points. Then you will play better and it’s good for the team.”
He added: “The season started very well. We had a difficult period but now we are back in the game again. It shows how tough the Barclays Premier League is but the fact it is so competitive is what I love about playing in England.”