John Arne Riise believes a ‘compact and aggressive’ Fulham display can see the Whites cause an upset against Manchester City on Saturday (3pm).
City arrive at the Cottage having hit Arsenal for six last weekend to take their goals tally for this season to 47 in the Barclays Premier League.
However, away from home, City haven’t been quite as impressive and, buoyed by Fulham’s recent upturn in form, Riise is looking forward to locking horns with Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
“It’s not a game people will expect us to win but we’re prepared to go out to try and get the victory,” Riise told the official website. “We want to go off the pitch on Saturday having given our all.
“City isn’t an easy game and the three games after that [against Norwich City, Hull City and West Ham United] are probably bigger for us as they’re against teams around us in the table. Those three games are massive but we’ll certainly be aiming to cause an upset against City.”
City will be without the injured Sergio Aguero on Saturday but Pellegrini still has a wealth of options to choose from in attack and Riise said: “We have to be compact and aggressive. The Cottage needs to become a fortress again – it should be a place where other teams don’t like to come and play. It’s a small stadium with a tight pitch and when we’re playing at our best it can be very hard for the opposition.”
Last time out Fulham went down to a 4-1 defeat at Everton – a result Riise insists was harsh on the Whites who he feels are continuing to improve under Head Coach René Meulensteen.
“The scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection,” reflected Riise. “We didn’t perform well in the first half – we didn’t keep the ball as well as we wanted to and that was disappointing. But we said at half-time that we were still in the game as they could have been at least 2-0 up.
“At 1-0, we still had a chance and we started the second half on top. Kaca [Alexander Kačaniklić] had a chance, Scott Parker had a shot and then we won our penalty to get it back to 1-1.
“A draw would have been a great result but we actually felt we could win it and the three points would have been massive. But then they got a goal and it’s the small details that decide a game. When they went in front we knew we had to push forward and we got punished by two more late goals. I don’t think the scoreline reflected the game.”
The result saw Fulham slip down to 19th place in the table but Riise said: “It’s disappointing but in the last three games we’ve shown what we can do. The fans can see that something has changed and the team is hard working and aggressive. We’re creating chances and we’ve got to give René some time to get all his ideas into the team but I think people can see he’s had an effect already.
Tickets for Saturday's game are still available to buy, priced from £49 for adults and £25 for juniors.