Fulham defender John Heitinga admits Fulham now need a miracle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Cardiff City left the Whites four points from safety – which with their vastly inferior goal difference – might as well be five points.

And Dutch defender Heitinga reckons it will be like winning a trophy if Felix Magath’s men manage to avoid the drop into the Championship.

He said: “You have to believe we can still do it. I still believe in the miracle. There are still 27 points to fight for, and we play some of the teams around us, but to stay in the Premier League now would be like winning the Champions League for us.

“Survival for us is the trophy. It’s the same now as winning a cup or a title. The only thing that matters at the moment is Fulham. It does not matter how we survive, we have to find a way.

“The manager afterwards said to us that Fulham is a club full of history and we have to try everything to keep it in the league. But it needs to be quick, because it is already five minutes past midnight now.”

With Fulham’s goal difference currently sitting on minus 36, Heitinga conceded the shoots of recovery must begin with him and his fellow defenders.

He added: “It’s not difficult to see what the problem is – we concede too many goals. This is a team at the moment that plays without confidence and concedes goals too easily.

“It was not good enough. We have to take a look in the mirror now because there are only nine games left. We need to stick together as a team, we need to have a little bit of luck. We have got the quality in the squad, but we need to show it on the pitch.”