Following a productive ten days in Portugal for a pre-season training camp, Marcus Bettinelli is determined not to let the lack of a victory detract from the strong work that has been put in on the training pitch and a set of positive performances.
Despite two narrow defeats against Burnley & Porto in Portugal the commanding goalkeeper was quick to highlight the importance of the squad getting minutes under their belt.
“One hundred percent when we played Cambridge last Wednesday it was about the boys getting minutes and fitness,” Bettinelli reflected. “Again these two games have been about fitness and getting minutes but we have shown some real quality.
“We played a top Champions League team with a massive squad and a massive fanbase in their home country, and based on chances we should have won the game.
“The stuff we have been working on at the training ground is coming off. We are going to be a good side this year, we haven’t had a win in pre-season but we are not worried about that.
“We have played two games against a Premier League side and a Champions League side and based on both games we have been the better team by far.”
The clash with Porto on Tuesday night at the Estádio Municipal de Albufeira saw the Whites go toe-to-toe with Champions League opposition. Despite the formidable opponent Fulham implemented their style and were unfortunate not to at least take a draw.
“I think the way we played showed we weren’t frightened and weren’t nervous about it.” he said. “The football we play is risky at times but we managed the risk and we managed the reward and we did that really well in tough conditions.
“They pressed us high and it was tough to get out but we were brave and made right decisions at the right times and on another day we get a win or a result.
“But we are not worried about that right now, obviously we want to win every game we play but what we are focusing on now is the style of play and that worked very well.”
Following a frustrating season hampered by injury, Bettinelli is happy to be back to full fitness and feels in the best condition he has ever been in heading into a gruelling Championship campaign.
“I feel in the best shape I’ve ever been in for pre-season,” he stated. “Obviously last season was a disappointing season personally for me and the team but I’ve gone away and worked really hard over the summer and now I feel in a really strong place.
“Obviously Birchy [Rob Birch] has come in and been a massive help and I’m excited.
“The way Scott wants us to play is with the ball at my feet and it’s exciting. There will be times we will look nervous at the back but that’s the way we want to play and set-up and against Porto we did that brilliantly.”
On a warm night in the Algarve there was a party atmosphere at the ground with fans revelling in the conditions. The hosts brought over 3,000 fans for the match but Bettinelli was quick to acknowledge the travelling Fulham support who had made their way to the game.
“The fans were unbelievable,” the goalkeeper said. “I don’t know how many there were, but they filled out both stands, they came out to come and support us and they never stopped singing.
“But that’s what we expect from them. They never let us down and the fact that they’ve done that especially after the season we’ve just had, still behind us, still supporting us, and getting on board with what we wanted to do it’s great to see and I’m sure they will be up in Barnsley in their thousands for the first game of the season.”