Chambers says Fulham ‘have stomach for the fight’

Calum Chambers believes Fulham’s incredible fightback against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday night shows that they ‘have the stomach for the fight’ as they battle to stay in the Premier League.

The Arsenal loanee’s first goal for the club sparked a remarkable comeback as the Whites scored four second-half goals without reply, having trailed to an early Glenn Murray brace. Chambers feels that the precious victory could serve as a turning point in their season and gives Fulham belief heading into Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

He told the Mirror after the final whistle:

We have shown we have the stomach for the fight. We were 2-0 down, conditions weren’t nice, we could have easily crumbled — but we didn’t.
We showed fighting spirit, we showed character and we showed a bit of pride. I think that’s what we are capable of and that’s what we need to do every game from now on. That’s going to be crucial. We have got to look at that second-half performance and what we did well. We have got to learn from that and take it into the next game.

That is the important thing – to try and build a bit of momentum. I think we can take a lot of positives from the second-half and go into the next games knowing we are capable of that.

Chambers also praised the impact of Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who grabbed a double to rock Brighton back on their heels.

Having him in the team can help you. He is a fighter, he is strong, and he scores goals. Having a player like him is crucial. That is why we need to use him. We need to use him as a player, know what his qualities are, and use them to our advantage.

He is a great character. He is a fighter. To have someone like that in the team is brilliant. He leads from the front. So having someone like that in the team is what we need.

There were obviously words from the manager at half time. We all spoke among ourselves as players. It was just a case of, we know it wasn’t good enough and we knew had to go out in the second-half and turn it around, show a bit of pride and character. That is what we did.

Fulham working on Nortdveit deal

Fulham are working on a deal to sign centre back Havard Nordtveit from Hoffenheim, according to reports from Norway this evening.

The 28 year-old Norwegian international, who can also play as a holding midfielder, has had two previous spells in English football with Arsenal and West Ham United and is reportedly keen on returning to the Premier League. Nordtveit has spent the past two seasons with Hoffenheim since leaving the Hammers, but has made just eight Bundesliga performances this season.

Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri has been desperate to bring in a centre back for much of the January transfer window, but talks over a potential move for Chelsea defender Gary Cahill broke down earlier this month. The move to sign Nordtveidt, who has won 45 caps for his country, has earned a thumbs up from former Fulham captain Brede Hangeland, who himself made a January move to Craven Cottage with the club deep in the relegation mire back in 2008.

Hangeland, who now works as a television analyst, told TV2 tonight:

I can’t see any other reason why Fulham should sign him than to go straight to the team. They have no need to get someone who cannot start and reinforce the base. Håvard also has no interest in sitting on the bench in the Premier League.

Fulham has a defence that is definitely not good enough. If he is intended for a defender role, he will be an upgrade on Odoi who plays on the right of the back three right now.

Mitrovic revels in ‘magical night’

Aleksandar Mitrovic revelled in what he described as ‘a magical night’ at Craven Cottage after Fulham roared back from two goals down to breeze past Brighton and Hove Albion last night.

The Cottagers breathed new life into their battle against the drop with a storming second half display that stood in stark contrast to their abysmal first half showing. Mitrovic scored two goals and came out on top in a real battle with Brighton’s two centre backs, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy, after a display of classical centre forward play.

The Serbian striker told Fulham’s official website that he relished the physical battle with the Brighton centre halves:

They are tough, tough guys, really strong, tall guys, like every Premier League defender.

I enjoy competing with different defenders every week, and against Brighton I scored two goals.

I had good service second half and we played unbelievably. We got four goals, and could have scored a few more, so it really was an unbelievable night. After a very bad first half, we tried to give everything second half. We wanted to go out and do everything we could.

We scored nice and early with the first goal, then the second goal, third goal, and the fourth goal finished the game. We didn’t concede any goals at the end.

It was really a joy to play in, and the fans were unbelievable. They believed as well, like we believed, and it was a magical night, and hopefully there are more wins to come.

It was a big game, a big three points. We had an unbelievable second half. We believed, and we fought until the end, and I think we deserved this.

Cairney eyes another ‘great escape’

Tom Cairney says last night’s stirring fightback against Brighton and Hove Albion shows that Fulham can pull off another ‘great escape’ and stay in the Premier League.

The Cottagers are still five points from safety, but Cairney feels that coming back from two goals down to record their first win in a month has boosted morale around the club. The Scottish international, who was introduced as an early substitute after Glenn Murphy’s double inside the first twenty minutes, also believes that passing football is the way to get Fulham out of trouble.

Look, we have got players to play football. I just feel like we have got to pass the ball. I think that is what we did in the second-half. That is what I came on and tried to do to the team. I mean it is tough, we can’t really outfight teams.

We aren’t big enough, we aren’t strong enough. But we have got good footballers in the team with Ryan Babel coming in, Jean-Michael Seri who can play football, myself. With Aleksandar Mitrovic up top, we have always got a chance to score. That is our best way; playing to feet.

I think that is the only way we can do it. We tried to fight, we tried to scrap a little bit, go a bit more direct. But I think we have our most success and look most dangerous when we play football.

Obviously it is still going to be the great escape if we get out of the situation we are in. I think to have any chance we have got to go back-to-back wins for the first time.

Ranieri salutes Fulham’s ‘fighting spirit’

Claudio Ranieri hailed Fulham’s fighting spirit after the Whites roared back from two goals down to beat Brighton and Hove Albion and breathe new life into their battle against the drop.

Fulham found themselves 2-0 down to a pair of Glenn Murray goals inside seven minutes and Ranieri was forced to abandon his back five by introducing Tom Cairney from the bench with less than half an hour played. The Italian replaced Andre Schurrle with Luciano Vietto at half-time and the impact was immediate with goals from Calum Chambers, a brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Vietto’s first Fulham goal securing a priceless win.

Ranieri told his post-match press conference:

“It was a very strange match. After 17 minutes we were down 2-0 and at that moment I said to myself it is much better to concede now rather than at the end, where you don’t have time to react.

It was good because we reacted immediately, even in the first half despite not scoring a goal. The Chambers goal was very important as it gave all the other players more confidence, which allowed them to think we can win tonight. We deserved to win and we played very good football. Tonight we provided Mitrovi? with good crosses, and with crosses Mitrovi? is a very dangerous player. Calum’s goal was also very good as we had very good build-up play leading up to it.

At half-time I gave my players positivity and let them know that we are still in the match. We had to move the ball very quickly and try and find a solution to break the lines with Mitrovi?, Cairney, Vietto and Babel. Babel gave us some experience and leadership, every time he received the ball he was very calm and did something good for the team, the other players also followed him.

These three points mean that we are alive, we can see a little light but it is only a little step forwards. I want to keep seeing this fighting spirit shown this evening.For us every match is tough but they are crucial because we are in the relegation zone. We are confident – this match and result tonight was very important for us. We believe always but tomorrow we have to restart because we have another tough match ahead of us on Saturday.