Scott Parker praised his side for proving they were not ready to simply go through the motions, despite being relegated 10 days ago.
There will much uncertainty about the future of many of the players in the Fulham squad ahead of next season’s first match back in the Championship, but the caretaker boss says they showed the focus he wants in beating Everton 2-0 at the Cottage.
It ended a dire run of nine defeats in a row, just two defeats short of the club’s worst ever sequence, dating back to 1962.
“If ever the focus was on this team, it was now,” Parker said. “I think we realised the challenge ahead – that staying in the Premier League would be tough – but after getting relegated, it would be quite easy [to give up].
“The questions have been asked of me. Are the players still up for it? Are they up for the fight? Are they on the beach? Ultimately, they answered those questions. They’ve showed some real fight and determination.
“I think the win did [feel like a long time coming] for everyone at the club. It’s not just for me personally, I think for everyone – the players, the staff. It’s been a while obviously since we’ve won a match and it was fully deserved today. I thought we were superb from start to finish.
“The result’s the by-product of the work we’ve done for the last nine days and the preparation – the lads have been fantastic in that. It was a big three points for us. We’ve not won many this year.”
Parker reserved a few of his plaudits for the long-suffering Whites supporters.
“The fans have not had a lot to shout about really,” he said. “We’ve been relegated 10 days ago and I like to think hopefully today just eases that a little. The crowd were fantastic I thought.
“At Watford, they stayed behind after the team had been relegated. It’s a cliché but they were the tops again today and I though Craven Cottage was alive. [The mood] was probably set by the players – the way they took the front foot got the crowd behind us really.”