Marcus Bettinelli downplayed the significance of his magnificent stoppage-time save from Richard Keogh after Fulham added further momentum to their push for the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Derby County this afternoon.
The Fulham goalkeeper insisted Kevin McDonald’s superb saving tackle a few moments earlier that robbed Matej Vydra of an easy tap-in was far more important in earning the three points than his lightning reactions to push away Keogh’s powerful volley. Speaking to BBC Radio London after the final whistle. Bettinelli modestly talked down his own intervention.
At times, a team needs a goalkeeper to produce saves and thankfully I was there to make that save today. It actually came from a punch from me but it is one of those ones – you get a couple of those a season. In the last minute, I knew I had to produce something. Thankfully, I managed to get a decent hand on it and touch it wide.
Forget my save for a minute, I think Kevin McDonald needs to get a huge amount of credit for a couple of minutes earlier. Jerome cuts the ball back and it gets beyond me and Vydra’s got an easy tap-in and somehow Kevin McDonald gets from behind him and manages to toe it away and out for a corner. That there was the save of the day from Kevin. He doesn’t get as much credit as some of the other midfielders at times, but the defensive role he plays and the job he does for us is absolutely key to our success.
The 25 year-old feels that Fulham can go on and claim the second automatic promotion place from Cardiff if they can continue their superb form since the turn of the year, which has seen Slavisa Jokanovic’s side go thirteen matches without defeat.
That’s the way we’re thinking. That’s the mentality we’ve got at the moment. We know it is going to be tough. Cardiff are a good side, there’s Villa and obviously Derby there as well. We’re not going to be silly. We know we’ve got a lot of teams chasing our tails as well so it is going to be a hell of an end to the season. I know it’s really tight up there. We’ll keep working hard. We’ll keep progressing. We’ll see how far it takes us.
We knew today was going to be a really tough game. Derby are a great side, [have] a great manager and they play really aggressive football. Their whole squad has Premier League quality. I thought first half we were brilliant – we played some great football and, then, in years gone by, we might have conceded that two goal deficit but we defended well and got there in the end.
Bettinelli also paid tribute to the around 1,800 travelling Fulham fans who made light of the beast from the east to make the journey to the East Midlands, despite transport plans being thrown into turmoil.
The weather leading up to this game obviously caused carnage up and down the country. I’ve got to say thank you to the fans that travelled. I know a lot of them were wary of the travel – not sure whether the game was going to be on or off and the conditions that they travelled in. The fact they’ve given up their time and taken the risk to travel up is fantastic. I think everyone in the team appreciates their support today. It meant a lot and thankfully we gave them something to go home with today.