Greening Insists Patched-Up Fulham Won't Be in Dogfight [Edition 2]
Smith, David, The Evening Standard (London, England)
GOAL HERO Jonathan Greening today claimed Fulham can steer clear of a Premier League relegation battle, despite the side being decimated by injuries.
Greening found the net for the first time in 21 appearances for Fulham to give a makeshift line-up a 1-0 victory over bottom club Portsmouth at Craven Cottage last night. He then admitted concern had been growing after a run of five League defeats.
The 31-year-old loan signing from West Brom said: "You start worrying when you lose two games on the spin. When you lose five games in a row, of course it knocks your confidence.
"We're missing some big players to injuries and we're down to the bare bones with a lot of us playing out of position.
"But if you asked the gaffer, he'd say he's got an honest bunch of boys and we'll always give it our all. The games are coming thick and fast but I'd like to think we've got a big enough squad with enough quality and team spirit to cope with it."
A first League win since beating Manchester United in mid- December lifts Roy Hodgson's team to 10th in the table and they will be looking to consolidate that position at Bolton on Saturday, even though Greening, for one, may again be asked to play an unaccustomed role.
He said: "Against Portsmouth I had to fill in on the left wing, where I've not played in five or six years. The gaffer knows the centre of midfield is my favourite position but I'm willing to do a job anywhere."
Greening lurked unmarked on the left side of Portsmouth's penalty area in the 75th minute, when Damien Duff robbed hesitant Nadir Belhadj of the ball before firing a low cross which his grateful team-mate steered home.
Fulham just about deserved their first goal in four league games, although Portsmouth were easily the better team during the first half.
Fulham's cause was not helped on the half hour, when Italy Under- 21 striker Stefano Okaka, making his debut after signing on loan from Roma on Monday, missed a header from two yards out.
Both Greening and Hodgson leapt to the defence of the youngster, drafted in sooner than might have been deemed appropriate because of a dire lack of attacking strength. …