Fulham manager Felix Magath believes that Fulham’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle United will prove a springboard in the London club’s bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
The Craven Cottage outfit remain at the foot of the table, four points from safety with just eight matches remaining.
But after seeing his side record a first league win in 10 games, Magath – who was taking charge of his fourth match since succeeding Rene Meulensteen as manager – said: “If you begin a new job, you know you need a win.
“The players are not confident and they need confidence. If you lose like us two games and only one draw, you have no trust in things, so it was necessary for everybody we had a win today (Saturday).
“We don’t care much about the other (teams’) results. We have to do our work and get our results. It wasn’t only the result today; it was the game we played, and I thought we were the better team, so it will give us the confidence we can avoid relegation and stay in the league.”
Magath dropped Holland international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg in favour of David Stockdale, whose excellent performance helped lay the foundations for a win secured by Ashkan Dejagah’s 68th-minute strike.
“It was a hard decision to drop Maarten, but he has taken it very well,” said Magath.
“The idea was Maarten is a quiet ‘keeper; he is not loud, and David is louder. That was my idea: that we need someone who gives more encouragement to the players, and fortunately it worked.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew watched the game on television from a hotel room as he served the first match of a seven-game ban for headbutting Hull City midfielder David Meyler.
Pardew is banned from the stadium for the first three of those games and assistant John Carver, who was in charge of the team on the day, explained that the manager kept in touch with the bench by phone.
“Alan was in the hotel where we stayed last night,” Carver said. “I had a conversation with him when we were coming off the pitch at half-time and then again at the end of the game.
“He had an analyst in the hotel and one on the bench speaking to (first-team coach) Steve Stone. So I had probably two conversations and that was it.
“He was speaking to the analyst, but he was really calm at half-time. He was obviously disappointed he wasn’t here, as we all were.”
Carver admitted that thoughts of Pardew’s punishment from the Football Association had coloured his own reaction to a late penalty decision that went against Newcastle.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul was convinced that he should have had a spot-kick when he advanced for a late corner and saw his shot hit Johnny Heitinga’s arm, but his appeal was waved away by referee Howard Webb.
“I certainly counted to 10 this time, because you have to,” Carver said. “After what’s gone on the last few weeks, we have to be on our best behaviour for obvious reasons.
“I had a good conversation with the referee and he gave me his reasons and I was happy with that. Tim was a bit animated and I think he wanted to go and see him, but I told him, ‘It’s not worth it.’