Man of the match Alphonse Areola was disappointed that Fulham couldn’t record a vital victory on the south coast against relegation rivals Brighton tonight – but pledged that the team will keep fighting.
The French goalkeeper made a series of superb saves to keep the home side at bay as Brighton pushed for a first home league win since last June. He did superbly to keep out a late effort from former Brentford forward Neal Maupay and also saved instinctively with his feet when Leandro Trossard bore down on goal in the first half.
Areola, now firmly established as Fulham’s number one after arriving on loan from PSG in the summer, told FFCTV after the final whistle:
“It was a tough game. We didn’t lose and the important thing is to take points. We had one today, we expected maybe three, but we’ll keep fighting and we still believe. We tried to win the game. We played to win. We were unlucky with the last shot from Ruben [Loftus-Cheek]. We have to score to win games and we hope that is going to come.”
He was modest about his own accomplishments, preferring to praise the efforts of his defence.
“I did my job. Every game I try to give my best and help the team to stay in the game and it is what I’ve done [tonight]. Lots of players helped me out. I wasn’t the only one – it was a great team performance!”
Areola was effusive about the level of improvement in Fulham’s defending since a shaky start to the season that put Scott Parker’s side on the back foot almost immediately in the battle to stay up.
“It has improved a lot since the beginning of the season. I think we are talking more, at the training also, so all the team is focused on this part of the game and I think we are doing well. We have to score to win games and we will be safe.”
He knows that picking up just a point at the AMEX means that the weekend trip to West Bromwich Albion becomes even more important.
“It will be a great game as well. Tomorrow, we’ll recover and try to win. We need that, but the important thing is – as the gaffer says – we have to give our best in all of these games and that’s what we’ll do.”