Edwin van der Sar believes that Fulham must focus on nothing other than Premiership survival between now and the end of the season.

Fulham have slipped to 16th place after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Bolton, though Van der Sar claims that their fight to avoid relegation renders final positions irrelevant.

He said: “I think that at this part of the season it’s not important if you are going to finish 14th, 15th or 16th, it’s now just [important] to stay up. I think the most important thing is that we keep a six or seven-point gap above the teams that are going to be relegated.” Fulham were hampered at Bolton by the dismissal of Claus Jensen for handling Bruno N’Gotty’s header in the 13th minute. Jay-Jay Okocha converted the resultant penalty, though Van der Sar claims that an earlier foul went unpunished.

He said: “I saw it on television and I think it was obvious that Brian [McBride] was pulled back or blocked and that’s why N’Gotty got a free header. If there had been a foul given then the supposed handball from Claus would not have happened.”

Bolton moved two goals ahead when Kevin Nolan headed home. Luis Boa Morte reduced the deficit within two minutes of the restart, but Stelios Giannokopoulos ended the visitors’ resistance with a welltaken third.

Fulham, who are six points clear of the relegation zone, face a resurgent Manchester City at home on Saturday before difficult trips to Middlesbrough and Chelsea. Van der Sar added: “We need two more wins as quickly as possible.”