Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes a good start to their Europa League campaign will help them hit the ground running when the Barclays Premier League season kicks off.
Whilst most top flight clubs are only just returning to training in preparation for their respective pre-season tours, the Cottagers have been thrown straight into the heat of competition football. Not that Schwarzer minds.
In fact, he believes the early start and the gaining of match fitness at this stage will work in their favour when they turn their attention to the domestic scene.
Martin Jol’s men take a 3-0 first leg lead to the Faroe Islands tomorrow for the return with Nes Soknar Itrottarfelag and Schwarzer says: “It’s a European game, whether it’s the first round, the fourth, or the fifth, it’s still a big game.
“Obviously the opposition is one that people will look at and think ‘it’s a nothing game,’ but for us it’s important to win the game. All you have to do is think about what would happen if you lose the game, that’s enough motivation for anyone.
“It’s still very early in the competition and this time we’re in round one, so we’ve got to do it like we did last time and take every round as it comes. As long as we can maintain our good performances in the Premier League, as well as in Europe, everyone will be happy.
“I think the teams that start off early do really well at the start of the season – let’s just wait and see. Let’s hope we get the balance right between work and rest. Hopefully we can have a very good season again.”
Schwarzer went on to praise the appointment of new manager Jol and the smooth manner in which he’s taken the reins of the west London club.
“He’s been good, he’s obviously got a lot of experience in the game and he’s held some very big coaching positions over the last couple of years. He’s a big personality, he’s slotted in very easily and the players have responded really well. He has the upmost respect from all the players."