Betts: Incredible Result

Monday 5 March 2018 15:00

Marcus Bettinelli played down his crucial save at the end of Fulham’s win at Derby County.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time, home captain Richard Keogh bent a shot towards the far top corner, only for Bettinelli to tip it away to preserve all three points for his side.

But the ever-humble Whites stopper preferred to highlight the impact made by his teammates.

“It was a good save,” he admitted. “I think the reason it comes about is an average punch from me which I could do better on.

“I’ll take the save, but I think the main thing was Kevin McDonald’s clearance [that led to the corner]. Cameron Jerome cut it back, it’s gone past me and Kev’s there.

“That just shows the desire we have to keep balls out of our goal. He’s a central midfielder and he doesn’t always get enough credit because the job he does defensively is spectacular.

“A lot of the time it goes unnoticed but that clearance was match-winning. My save was good, but it’s got nothing on Kev’s clearance, and congratulations to him, he’s been absolutely perfect the last few games helping the back four out and he’s tremendous on the ball.

“Big Mitro was really, really good up front, he gives us a massive outlet, holds the ball up really well, and he deserved his goal.

“Sess again on the scoresheet, that sums him up. He’s a boy with a hell of a future. He’s had a busy week picking up two awards, but he goes and bags again so congratulations to him.”

Saturday saw Fulham move above Derby in the table to fourth spot, and Bettinelli was delighted with what could prove to be a vital win.

“It’s an incredible result,” he stated. “We knew how good a side Derby are, their teamsheet screams quality, so we knew it was going to be tough.

“It shows how we’ve changed as a side as we might have drawn that game earlier in the season, but we stayed resolute, we stayed brave, and it’s an incredible result.

“First half we were a real threat going forward, on another day it could have been three or four. But that’s us, we’re frightening going forward.

“Defensively we’ve had questions asked of us over the last few years, and lately we’ve answered all of them.

“We would have liked another clean sheet, that’s what we aim for every game, but as long as we keep getting three points, that’s the main thing. To come to Derby and take three points in the manner that we did was excellent.”

Fulham’s unbeaten streak now extends to 13 matches, the last four of which have been against promotion rivals – a spell which yielded 10 points from 12.

“Everyone outside the club probably thought our form would have come to an end maybe at the Villa game, and said we would have died a slow death after that,” Bettinelli said. “But that’s shown our resilience lately and our determination to win games.

“That’s a hell of tough run of games against really good sides who will be up there at the end of the season, but to come away from all of them with positive results is just a credit to ourselves and the management staff.

“It’s not just 11 players out there, it’s the subs, the physios, everyone around the training ground, and it’s a great place to be at the moment.

“We’ve still got a lot of tough games to come, but we’re not going to take our foot off the gas or get carried away. We’re a humble bunch of lads, level-headed, and we’ll keep working hard and keep pushing for that second place.”

Eighth place Sheffield United are next up for the Whites, and Bettinelli is hoping for a more routine match than the 5-4 at Bramall Lane back in November.

“The game away at their place was an absolute rollercoaster, probably one of the best games in the Championship all season,” he recalled. “Hopefully we won’t need as many goals as we did then, but we know it’s going to be tough.

“They’re a really good side on a good run of form and they play really attacking football, so it should be a good game but we’ll go into it really confident.”

Tickets for the Sheffield United match are priced from just £25 adults and £15 juniors. Prices increase by £5 on matchday.

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