Scott Parker said his side can take hope from Fulham’s escape from relegation under Roy Hodgson in the 2007-08 season.
The Cottagers are currently six points adrift of 17th-placed Newcastle with 14 games remaining in the Premier League season, the same margin as Hodgson’s Fulham team found themselves behind with just three games left.
Fulham were 19th when Hodgson took charge in December 2007 and were still 19th in April before two victories in their last three matches, including a 1-0 win at Portsmouth on the final day of the season, saw them stay up on goal difference.
“All those stories are things you can look onto and give you hope,” Parker said when asked about Fulham’s relegation battle.
“Roy was part of that, and that’s something that you look to. Hope mainly comes from what I see and the hope and the belief comes from knowing that we can win football matches and that’s the main thing and the main drive really.”
Fulham host bottom-placed Sheffield United on Saturday in a bid to close the gap, after recording only their third win of the season over Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, and Parker highlighted the mental aspect of the relegation battle.
“It’s a big challenge (convincing players to believe in themselves). I realise how powerful that psychological element is to a football player,” the 40-year-old said.
“Whether you’re playing at one of the best teams in the world or whether you are one of the best players in the world, it’s still a psychological influence on performance.
“I realise that, and that’s from my own experiences as well. I set out at the start of the season and tried to create a culture at this club that everyone feels very at ease, understands the pressures and what’s expected of them, but has a real belief that you want to improve and be self-critical.
“At the same time, try to give them some idea of what this season was going to look like.
“My experiences as a player give me conviction in that because I understood how this would pan out from last year being with the team, to the quick turnaround, to players coming in, to the level up. I probably always knew it was going to be like that.
“Because I’ve been able to explain it to them, it’s not come as a surprise when we’ve come under a little bit. It’s a constant process to keep trying to develop players in that way.”