Roy Hodgson is confident his rampant Fulham side can continue their fine form and record a Christmas derby double against Tottenham and Chelsea.
Not so long ago Fulham would have gone in against teams in the top five of the Premier League with trepidation weakening their cause before a ball had been kicked in anger.
But the manner in which they humbled Manchester United 3-0 on Saturday by taking the game to the reigning champions proves just how far Fulham have come under Hodgson.
“I don’t think that we have inhibitions when it comes to playing the top teams,” he said. “What we do have, of course, is the major task and the major problem of dealing with those teams.
“Because the top teams have such good players, if you allow them time and space they’re very quick to hurt you. We were very anxious against United not to give them that time and space, so we closed them down well.
“The whole team deserve enormous credit for the pressurising they were able to do.”
Fulham, who are at home to Spurs on Boxing Day ahead of making the short trip to Stamford Bridge next Monday, have lost only one of their last 11 Premier League games.
It is a record that owes much to the form of Bobby Zamora, whose fifth goal in four games led to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer making a new call for the striker to be considered for an England call-up.
Schwarzer, already guaranteed World Cup action with Australia next summer, believes the enigmatic Zamora might also be heading for South Africa.
It is little wonder that some Fulham fans have still to take to the former Spurs and West Ham player, even though his goal tally is now into double figures for the season.
His recent rant against criticism from a certain section of the Craven Cottage crowd was as ill-judged as some of his passing and shooting.
But when the 28-year-old Londoner is at his best, as he was at Basle in the Europa League last Wednesday and again against United when he not only scored with a brilliant strike of his own but employed his chest and a delicate touch with a foot to lay on Damien Duff’s goal, then he really should figure in Fabio Capello’s notebook.
Schwarzer said: “If Bobby keeps scoring goals and keeps performing then it is going to be difficult not to have a look at him and see what he can do at international level.
“He’s a fantastic player for us and there’s no reason, if he continues that form, why he shouldn’t be knocking on the door for England selection.
“What Bobby has done for this club over the last 12 months has been tremendously underrated.
“We, as players, acknowledge how much work he’s done for us and how much of a benefit it has been for the team with the way he plays, the way he holds the ball up, and the way he throws himself about.
“The difference now is that he’s scoring as well and that breeds confidence, you can see it. He’s really bounding around, from last Wednesday where he led the line and was exceptional, to against United when he really took control.”
It is probably too late to revive the England career of 32-year-old Danny Murphy but, when fit, his influence for Fulham is huge. So are his goals, like the one on Saturday which ensured Fulham beat United at home for the second successive season.
With United’s defence already crippled by injuries, the last thing Sir Alex Ferguson needed was for the usually dependable Paul Scholes to have an off-day. But he made a series of appalling errors; the most notable when Murphy robbed him of possession midway in the first half before picking his spot wide of Tomasz Kuszczak.
With Zamora getting his goal within 30 seconds of the start of the second half, and the energetic Duff sewing things up in the 75th minute, Hodgson had every right to be delighted with the performance of his team.
He said: “We were playing against a very wounded Manchester United side and we were fortunate to meet them at a time when they were extremely hampered. But I’d like to think that playing as well as that could have got us a result even against a normal Manchester United back line.”
Tottenham and Chelsea have been warned.