Scott Parker admitted Fulham could “fail” this year as they face an uphill battle to remain in the top flight – but he insists there are still positives to take from the season.
Fulham are nine points from safety with only 12 available after their defeat by west London rivals Chelsea last weekend.
Parker’s men host Burnley on Monday knowing that a loss to their fellow relegation strugglers would seal their fate.
“I think it’s exactly that, it’s a massive match for us,” the Fulham boss said.
“These are the times when leagues are won, relegations are decided, golden boots. This is when the trophies come out or the awards come out and this is where it is.
“So look, the task ahead of us on Monday is one that we need to win against a very good opponent and that’s what we’re going to endeavour to do.”
Fulham had managed to reduce the deficit to safety from 10 points to just three earlier in the season, but have slumped recently, and have picked up just one point from their last six matches.
“This team, during the journey this year – I get that we may fail this year,” Parker admitted, reflecting on the ups and downs of the season.
“I get that at this present moment in time we’ve maybe not won as many games or whatever that is but to be where we are, there’s been some real upturns, there’s been some real learning and there’s been some real improvements and while of course maybe at the end of this road there might be failure overall, there have been some real uplifts as well.
“How we’ve dealt with those (difficult) moments and not sank, how players have pulled through those moments and put in performances, how the team have managed to scrap through some real serious adversity at times and moments that would have sunk a lot of teams… we probably would have been dead and buried a long time ago so it has been crucial really.
“They’re all big learning curves and they’re all certainly experiences that can only help every one of us, myself included, so that’s the main thing.”
Fulham will have 2,000 fans, of which all will be home supporters, at their final game of the season against Newcastle at Craven Cottage on May 23.
Restrictions could be eased on May 17 to allow a limited number of fans back into football stadiums.