Richardson eyes great escape for Fulham

Kieran Richardson is keeping the faith that Fulham will escape relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Kieran Richardson

The 29-year-old scored the opening goal in Saturday's crucial 2-1 victory over Aston Villa that reignited Fulham's survival push.

After losing at home to Everton the previous week, there was a feeling the Cottagers were condemned to Championship football, but Richardson's belief did not waver.

The midfielder knows just what can be achieved at the end of the season, with his goal against Portsmouth on the final day in 2004-05 helping West Brom stay up against all the odds.

Richardson does not believe Fulham's situation is as grave, even though they are still five points from safety with only five games remaining.

He said: "West Brom was a bit different. We weren't expected to come out of there at all. With Fulham, with the players we have, I'm always confident we can get a result.

"The manager's a top-class manager, from the get-go he's come in and done a great job, so I'm not worried. I do believe we'll get out of it because we have the quality.

"I'm ready if it goes to the last game. It doesn't matter if it's last day, last minute, last second, staying in the Premier League is all that matters."

Richardson's belief is also bolstered by his Christian faith.

"My faith is very, very strong," he said. "I know my fate's in one person's hands. And Fulham's fate is in one person's hands."

Only Fulham have lost more matches at home that Villa this season and the visitors struck first just after the hour mark when Richardson drilled a shot into the top corner.

Grant Holt equalised nine minutes later and it looked like Fulham's best chance of taking three points might have gone when Matthew Lowton somehow cleared Lewis Holtby's shot off the line.

But with four minutes of normal time remaining Holtby crossed for Hugo Rodallega to head the winner.

Richardson said: "We'd been saying all week we believed we could come here and win. The last two games they conceded eight goals so their confidence was maybe a bit down.

"They maybe thought they'd turn up and roll us over but when you're fighting teams in the bottom three, there's a lot riding on it. We were going to be running our hearts out. It's a massive result."

Victory set Fulham up perfectly for what could well be a make-or-break game against Norwich next Saturday.

Chris Hughton's side sit five points above the drop zone but their final four games are against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Richardson said: "We're very confident we can beat Norwich. We're at home and we're always confident at home. We've got great support.

"In the last four games we've picked up two wins, and we played some good football against Everton. We're in form.

"It's going to be a hard game, there's no denying that, because they're fighting to stay in the Premier League as well. If we beat them we'll only be two points behind them and hopefully we can crack on."

The win was a second for manager Felix Magath in his seven games in charge and Fulham's first away from home since Boxing Day.

Magath became Fulham's third manager of the season in February but has already faced speculation about his future.

Richardson has been impressed by the German's impact, and he said: "The manager tells us how it is.

"When we do things wrong, he's the first to tell us, trying to correct us, and sometimes you need to hear that. Sometimes you see the good things but you need to see the bad things.

"He's got a lot of experience, he's very well respected. You don't manage Bayern Munich and win leagues for no reason. We've got a lot of respect for him and everything's been top drawer."

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