Scott Parker admitted he was relieved to see his side end a frustrating run of five games without a win as his side swept Wigan Athletic aside on Friday night.
The Whites were far from at their best and had to cope with some strong-arm tactics from the no-nonsense Latics. But in the end they prevailed 2-0 to get their season up and running again.
Joe Bryan’s first league goal for the club just after the break broke the deadlock and a sumptuous Tom Cairney shot settled the outcome six minutes from the end of normal time.
“I think everyone was [relieved] – the coaches, certainly the players and the fans were as well,” said the Fulham boss.
“I think over the last few weeks the results have probably not been there but the performances certainly have.
“We’ve probably played better over the course of the last few weeks and not got the result. I think the result was key tonight, obviously and that second goal just took that edginess off us really.”
Parker added: “We’ve been wounded the last few weeks and when you have sucker-punches like we’ve had over the last few weeks, it has an effect and probably had an effect on the players and the crowd at times. The crowd tonight were superb and the players were superb and it was a good result.
“We go 1-0 up the last few weeks and we’ve probably sat off it a little bit – given the [opposition] team a bit more impetus to come at us and normally we pay the price on that but tonight we scored the goal and went up another level from that. We raised the tempo, we raised our work-rate and that was pleasing.”
Parker was also delighted that his team showed the stomach for a fight and were not to be denied by sometimes aggressive opposition, who flew into tackles and raised the on-field temperature.
“We’ve faced that a lot this year,” he said. “Every team that comes here, they’ve set their stall out. They’ve been very resilient in their work and it’s been difficult to break down.
“We wanted to keep the tempo high and not let it drop and I think that we did that very very well tonight against a very good side. They’re a physical side.”