Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen spoke of his delight at seeing skipper Brede Hangeland return to action in the FA Cup third-round replay victory against Norwich.
Goals from Darren Bent, Ashkan Dejagah and Steve Sidwell secured an impressive 3-0 win for the Whites, who will travel to Sheffield United in round four.
And Meulensteen hopes Fulham’s improved defending with Hangeland back in the team was a sign of things to come as they look to climb away from relegation danger.
The Norwegian, who has been out with a sciatic nerve problem, will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s derby at Premier League leaders Arsenal.
“It was a big, big boost to have him back,” declared Meulensteen, who also revealed that Fulham have had a bid for Ravel Morrison rejected by West Ham.
“Brede has done ever so well, working really hard to get back. It was great to see that he came through the 90 minutes really well.
“We’ll now need to look at it, because Arsenal away in the league is obviously a different kettle of fish. We’ll review this game with Brede, see how he feels, and go from there.
“We know our defensive record needs improving and that’s why we very clearly set out to keep a clean sheet.
“My biggest thing tonight was keeping the clean sheet. I keep telling the players if we keep clean sheets we will start climbing the table, because we’ve got enough quality.”
Meulensteen also praised Dan Burn, who made his home debut, describing the young centre-back as “a breath of fresh air.”