Edwin van der Sar believes that Lee Clark’s return from injury has been the catalyst for Fulham’s recent revival.
Fulham, who defeated Birmingham 2-1 on Saturday, have put together a six-match unbeaten run to climb to 13th in the Premiership. That improved sequence of results has coincided with Clark, who was sidelined for nearly 10 months with an Achilles problem, coming back into the Fulham squad.
Clark made his first Premiership start of the season at St Andrews, and Van der Sar said that the former Newcastle midfielder’s presence has given everyone a lift.
“Lee had been out a long time and I don’t think that he expected to feature so quickly,” said Van der Sar, who hopes to sign a oneyear extension to his contract this week. “But he’s doing well and he leads us on the pitch and I think that’s important. Maybe we missed that a bit because I don’t think we are too much of a vocal side. The back four is quite young and I think that it’s important we have a voice in midfield.”
While Clark combined well with Papa Bouba Diop and Mark Pembridge in the central third, it was Luis Boa Morte who did most to earn Fulham victory.
The former Arsenal forward won a 78th minute penalty that Andrew Cole converted to cancel out Moritz Volz’s second-half own goal, and five minutes later he escaped on the left only to be upended again. From the ensuing free-kick Diop sent a thumping header beyond Maik Taylor.
“I don’t think we are playing that good lately but we keep on getting the points,” said Van der Sar. “Everyone is working hard and this is the first time [in the Premiership this season] we have won when we’ve gone a goal down, so that’s positive.”