Fulham 2-1 Norwich: Daily Mirror match report
Published 21:30 01/04/12 By Neil McLeman
Clint Dempsey equalled Louis Saha’s Fulham record of Premier League goals in a season – and was then urged to stay and score lots more.
The American found the net and set up Damien Duff’s strike to win this game in the first 13 minutes.
Only Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have scored more goals in the Premier League this year and the Craven Cottage outfit have offered him a new three-year deal.
The 29-year-old is out of contract in 2013 and said during the last transfer window he still has the ambition to play in the Champions League.
His 19 goals this season, including his country’s winner against Italy, will have attracted interest around the continent.
But after Bobby Zamora left in January to join a relegation scrap at QPR, Martin Jol insisted he will find no better place to play his football every week.
“He’s our top goalscorer and that tells you everything – we offered him an improved deal last week,” said the Dutchman.
“There are not many players who have left Fulham over the last few years who did well.
“Hopefully I can convince Clint he should stay with us for another couple of years. He is a regular.
“If you play for a different team, maybe a top-four team, I’m not sure.” And Jol reckoned the American, who scored past Robert Green at the last World Cup, could be less attractive to big clubs because of his versatility.
“There will be a lot of clubs looking for a player like him,” the Whites’ boss continued.
“He is not a typical, specific wide player. That is probably the reason he is still here. It’s good.”
Dempsey, who has 13 Premier League goals, started wide against Norwich but had to switch to the centre when Pavel Pogrebnyak went off with a first-half injury.
John Arne Riise said: “He’s played centre midfield, winger, striker, in behind the striker so he’s very important.
“No matter what happens in a game we can always rely on him.”
Fulham overtook Norwich with this win but the rest of this season for both teams is about who will stay for the next campaign.
Danny Murphy, Andy Johnson and Pogrebynak are out of contract this summer at Fulham.
Canaries’ boss Paul Lambert has put on hold talks over renewing deals for David Fox, Elliott Ward, Zak Whitbread and goal-scorer Aaron Wilbraham.
Despite a second-half fightback, this defeat will have shown the Scot two things to think about.
Norwich have now gone 30 games without a clean sheet in the Premier League – and they have lost all four matches without Grant Holt this season.