Ademola Lookman’s second-half goal earned Fulham a precious 1-0 victory over bottom club Sheffield United to edge them closer to escaping the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday.
Scott Parker’s side huffed and puffed for more than an hour at Craven Cottage until Lookman fired a shot past Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale in the 61st minute
Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola was forced into a brave late block to preserve Fulham’s lead and they hung on to record a second win in three games.
Their first victory at home in three months lifted them to 22 points from 25 games, three points behind Newcastle United who are one place above the drop zone ahead of their game at Manchester United on Sunday.
Sheffield United look doomed to the drop as they are 14 points behind Newcastle.
Fulham dominated but had no cutting edge until Lookman was picked out by Joachim Andersen’s pass before evading United defender Ethan Ampadu and cutting in to fire a shot through the legs of Ramsdale for his fourth league goal of the season.
“It’s been a big, big week for us with our performances. We’ve been growing in confidence and the wins are coming,” Lookman said of a week in which Fulham have picked up seven points to reduce Newcastle’s safety cushion.
“We’re not focused on anybody else apart (from) ourselves. We can only control what we can control.”
Fulham had 15 attempts at goal compared to Sheffield United’s four but the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was when Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s effort was hooked off the line by defender George Baldock.
A jittery closing few minutes for the hosts saw Areola make a reaction save to deny Enda Stevens an equaliser.
“I’m really proud of this team because it’s a huge moment; not just this game but this week. It’s been massive,” said Parker, whose side are unbeaten in four games.
“We all understand what we need to do. We need results more than performances but I felt like we got both tonight.”
United manager Chris Wilder admitted it now looked impossible for his side to avoid relegation after a 20th league defeat in 25 games this season.
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“I can’t mug you off — it’s looking like next season we’ll be in the Championship (second tier),” he said.