Fulham manager Mark Hughes has sought to prevent Fulham slacking off in their final three games of the season by challenging them to secure their highest ever points tally in the Barclays Premier League.
The Cottagers sealed their top-flight status last weekend when they romped to a 3-0 win at Sunderland and there could be a danger of them relaxing in their upcoming matches against Liverpool – on Monday night – Birmingham and Arsenal.
But manager Hughes is determined to guide them to a top-10 finish and set them a target of winning all of their remaining games, a feat which would see them beat their best ever Premier League points tally of 53.
He said: “If we get maximum points out of every game we have left then I think that’s the highest total ever that a Fulham team has reached in the Premier League.
“So that’s a challenge for us and that’s something that we’ll use as a motivation going into these last three games.
“It could’ve been easy to switch off after the Bolton result, to be fair, because we were safe or near as damn it.
“But I didn’t see any inkling that that’s what the players were feeling when we went up against Sunderland.
“So it’s more of the same for the games we have remaining.”
Fulham’s current record was set under Roy Hodgson two years ago and beating it would highlight the remarkable turnaround in Fulham’s season Hughes has masterminded since the start of the year.
Some fans were calling for his head when the club slipped into the relegation zone in December but now their only fear will be keeping hold of the 47-year-old in the summer.
He said: “It was difficult at the beginning of the season but, as we come to the climax of it, we’ve been really pleased with what we’ve be able to produce.
“There are not that many trophies that are up for grabs and they get taken more often than not by the big clubs.
“But it’s about making sure that you’re still achieving at your own level.
“I think Fulham have only been in the top 10 of the Premier League three or four times, in fact even in the whole of the Football League.
“To do that again would be fantastic for us.”
Fulham go into Monday night’s game arguably in their best form of the season following back-to-back 3-0 victories.
Hughes said: “We look strong and we look fresh and the enjoyment that we show in our play is there.
“We’re not jaded, we’re not tired, we’re not mentally strained.
“We’re looking forward to every game that we’ve got left and it’s a shame really that the season’s finishing now because we’re really playing some great stuff and getting some positive results rather than just finding it more difficult to change draws into wins.
“Now, we’re obviously going into games expecting to play well and expecting to win, which early in the season, because of missing personnel I would suggest and the fact that I was new to the club and new to them as a group, was more difficult.
“That’s gone, that’s changed now and everybody understands the responsibilities they have and the demands that are placed on them, and they’re producing at the moment.”
And Hughes, who was appointed last July predicted even more to come next season.
“What we will have at the beginning of next season is the benefit of having pre-season together, which obviously I didn’t have the benefit of this year.