Fulham star Ruiz aiming high

Bryan Ruiz has set his sights on helping Fulham equal their highest ever finish of seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

Last Updated: 06/04/13 at 15:03 Post Comment

Ruiz: Aiming to help Fulham to their highest ever finish

Ruiz: Aiming to help Fulham to their highest ever finish

The Cottagers head to Newcastle on Sunday knowing a draw will bring them to the all-important 40-point mark with seven games to spare.

A mid-season slump had led to fears that Fulham could be dragged in to their first relegation battle in many a year, but outstanding performances from Mark Schwarzer, Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov mean Martin Jol's men now have their eyes trained on the top half of the table rather than the bottom.

And a recent five-match unbeaten run has propelled Fulham up to 10th in the table.

Roy Hodgson guided Fulham to their record highest finish of seventh in 2010, and with just nine points separating the Londoners and the current occupants of that position - Liverpool - Ruiz thinks he and his team-mates could equal that achievement this term.

Speaking ahead of the trip to Newcastle on Sunday, the Costa Rican said: "We really want to win on Sunday as it will put us in a very good position to try and catch ninth, eighth, or even seventh place."

In years gone by Newcastle-Fulham would have been seen as a home banker due to the Magpies' strength at St James' Park, and the Cottagers' poor away record.

This season has been a different story, however. Fulham have shaken off their away-day blues and Newcastle sit just three points above the relegation zone after a disappointing season.

Ruiz, who is likely to line up alongside Berbatov up front in the north-east, is wary of the damage that the likes Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse can do, however, and he thinks it would be foolish to under-estimate a team that has reached the last eight of the Europa League this season in spite of their domestic troubles.

"Newcastle are doing well in the Europa League which shows they are a good team," added Ruiz on Fulham's website.

"They had a bad period this season but they still have some very good players and we'll need to take care of them.

"It's going to be a very difficult game as Newcastle really need the points.

"But they have the pressure; they need to win. We are playing well so if we do the things we've been doing, then we will be fine and can play with no pressure."

Fulham manager Jol will be without midfielder Steve Sidwell tomorrow after his three-match suspension for a red card against QPR on Monday night was upheld.

The Dutchman, who led Fulham to ninth in his first year in charge, has been delighted with Berbatov's goal scoring form since he joined from Manchester United on a free transfer.

Jol was also impressed with Berbatov on Monday night when he suggested he did not deserve the man-of-the-match award he won for his double against QPR.

The 32-year-old, who is often labelled as a selfish player on the ball by some pundits, said Schwarzer deserved the gong instead for saving Loic Remy's penalty.

"I think Dimitar must be fed up with all the praise because it makes us look like a one-man team and if you look at all the players we have got, we aren't," the Fulham boss said.

"We have a good 'keeper, a good defence, then you look at players like Giorgos (Karagounis). He is 36, and he has been fantastic, as has Damien Duff. He is getting older, but he looks younger.

"Dimitar was the main man in the first half (against QPR), but you need the team as well. I am happy that he recognises that and came up with the praise for his team-mates after the game."


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Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

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