Scott Parker has piled the pressure on his goalkeeper by insisting he “needs to play out of his skin” to help keep Fulham in the Premier League.
Alphonse Areola has won a heap of praise for a string of saves that has cemented him as first name on the current teamsheet.
That accolade might have been shared with Aleksandar Mitrovic until last Sunday – but even 2019-20’s Championship Golden Boot winner had to take a seat on the bench against Everton.
Areola is on loan from Paris St-Germain with an option to buy, and quickly relegated last season’s main keeper, Marek Rodak, to the subs’ list.
The head coach believes his new keeper’s form will be crucial in the hard months ahead.
“Keepers with clubs down the bottom of the league see a lot of action, and at the end of the season they’re the ones who get a lot of praise,” Parker said.
“In Alphonse we have a keeper with great quality, who at times is going to have to keep us in games.
“He’s going to have to play out of his skin at times with big saves and show everyone his quality.
“At West Ham, (his performance) comes to mind. He’s a big personality and I think he can improve on that in a new country and a new culture.
“He comes in every day with a real team-ethic of where we can get better – and he’s fully focused and wants to win.
“You know what you’re getting from someone who’s been PSG and Real Madrid. He knows what world class looks like and what it takes to get it.”