Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has said Fulham cannot afford to stand still but must build on their impressive achievements of recent seasons if they are to enjoy future success. Although one of London's smaller top-flight clubs, in terms of ground capacity and tradition, Fulham have twice finished in the Premier League top ten over the past three seasons and also made it to the UEFA Europa League final in 2010.
Schwarzer has been a cornerstone of the Cottagers' team in that time and he told Fulham's website today: "We've just got to keep backing up what we've been doing over the last few years. The last three seasons have been - for Fulham Football Club and a lot of us personally - fantastic. It's possibly been the best three years in a lot of our careers. We need to continue that run.
"We believe that we belong in the top half of the Premier League and we like to think that we can mix it in Europe every couple of seasons. The expectation levels are always higher. When I first came here, the club had just avoided relegation with 15 minutes to spare so anything above that was a bonus.
"To then finish seventh, then have such a great run in Europe and finish eighth last year means the expectations are there. We, as players, acknowledge that and we know that we need to live up to them. So far it's been a great challenge. If you look at the history of the club and how much has been accomplished, particularly in the last three years - it's been outstanding."
Scharwzer also praised the contribution of Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of London's Harrods department store. "The chairman's been 100 per cent supportive and the club wouldn't exist in the position it is now without the support of the chairman," he added. "He's always been there and he's always been rock-solid for the club. He's always looked to progress. In the years that I've been here, I've seen a lot of progression."