There was no bigger smile inside Craven Cottage than the one strewn across Hugo Rodallega’s face when fulhamfc.com caught up with the striker after our win over Norwich City.
Fresh from scoring his second crucial winner in as many games, the 28-year-old was beaming as he described his joy that’s come from the faith placed in him by Felix Magath.
He stated: “I’m happy, I’m very happy because I want to play, I want to play every game. I waited a long time for this opportunity and now I’m trying to enjoy every game and, of course, I have to score. I have to score for the team, for myself, and I’m very happy. I enjoyed the game.”
Tensions were high amongst both sets of players, staff and fans on Saturday, with the knowledge that whoever won the relegation six-pointer would have an excellent chance of staving off danger, while the losers faced an anxious end to the season.
And, despite some hairy moments, it was Fulham who emerged victorious courtesy of a brilliantly taken strike from Rodallega. At first glance it appeared to be a simple enough finish for the Colombian but, on closer inspection, he deserves even greater credit for controlling his shot when the ball came to him at a difficult angle after Lewis Holtby’s free-kick had been flicked on by Steve Sidwell.
Rodallega said of his goal: “It was a little bit behind me but I was able to use a bit of technique. Siddy just touched the ball with his head, that sent it a little bit behind me but I tried to score with my left foot and luckily the ball went inside the net.
“The win means so much to my family and myself, and everybody here in Fulham because everybody is working so hard at the Training Ground and everyone wants to keep Fulham in the Premier League.
“This is very important and, of course, I have to say thank you to the fans because they are unbelievable. Not just on Saturday; last week at Villa Park it was great support and that’s amazing for us on the pitch. I see everybody pushing hard for Fulham and that makes you enjoy it and work hard for these people.”
Suddenly, many outside of the Club have altered their stance on the Whites’ hopes of staying up. Considered dead and buried by plenty of pundits and bookmakers a couple of weeks ago, Fulham’s back-to-back victories have provided a fresh impetus and belief that another ‘Great Escape’ is achievable.
And although Rodallega insisted there is still a huge amount of work to be done, he stated that the team will go into each of their next four matches believing they can win, starting at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
“The confidence went up last week with the win against Villa,” he explained. “Then everybody said we have to win against Norwich because Norwich is the team directly above us with five more points than us. Now it is just two points difference. That’s why it was very important that we won this game.“The next four games are the same as our last two wins. We said before that we had six cup finals – and now we have four finals left, and we have to think that we can win every game. I know Tottenham is a very good team and it will be a hard game for us but we have to think only of winning as three points would be very important for us.”