Ashkan Dejagah is prepared for a 90-minute battle on Saturday when his Fulham side travel to Upton Park for a crunch London derby.
West Ham United sit level on 10 points with the Whites in the Barclays Premier League, and a win at the weekend would give a rosier complexion to the victor’s campaign.
“Of course, we will go there to try to take the three points because we need the points,” Dejagah admitted. “We know it will be a hard game because West Ham play very well at home, even if they haven’t really had the results there this season. We will try our best to win there because we have worked hard this week and hopefully we can take the three points.
“It’s not easy to play against them because they have tall and big players and we have to fight for each other in this game. We have to fight from the first minute and we know that because we played there last year and they won 3-0.”
Having kicked off the new term in style at Sunderland, Fulham’s occupancy of the final relegation spot was not where fans hoped or anticipated their side would be come the end of November, but Dejagah insists everyone is doing all they can to turn things around.
“That’s football,” he said. “Sometimes you go up [the table] and sometimes you go down. We have a hard situation now, every player knows that but we all work hard; the whole team, the staff, the Manager. Everyone works hard and we have to stick together and hopefully we can take results now.”
For Dejagah, 2013/14 began in frustrating fashion as he struggled to put last season’s ankle problem behind him, but he’s been in the matchday squad for the past four outings and is desperate to aid the Fulham cause.
“I enjoy it here in the Premier League and I enjoy playing at the Cottage but the injury was very hard because it was my first big injury in my career,” he explained. “But now I’m fit, I’m back and I’m working hard for my place in the team.
“I want to play and I want to show the Manager that I want to come back into the team. The Manager is the boss and he has to decide who plays. I wasn’t really 100 per cent fit before but now I’m fit and I hope that I can help the team.
“I have to work hard to play many games this season, that’s my target. If you work hard the other good things come along. I have to score my first goal for Fulham, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Dejagah is one of a number of the Whites squad who harbour ambitions of representing their country at next summer’s World Cup, and the Iranian winger knows that a productive campaign in SW6 is the best preparation ahead of the Finals in Brazil.
“This is a very important season for me,” he said. “I have to play because I need games so I have to work hard. [National team coach] Carlos Queiroz works very well with the team and the team is playing well and it’s a big thing for Iran to have qualified for the World Cup. I hope Carlos Queiroz stays with the team for a long time because he has helped the national team of Iran.”