ADEL Taarabt says he is shaking off his tag as a “lazy player” after helping Fulham to a 1-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday.
Taarabt, on a season-long loan from QPR, made his debut for the Cottagers at the Stadium of Light as part of an organised but unambitious Fulham team that grabbed the three points courtesy of Pajtim Kasami’s header early in the second half.
“It was a fantastic result and a great start to the season,” said the Moroccan international.
“I certainly put in a lot of work. People who say I’m a lazy player won’t be saying that now. I did everything asked of me and didn’t complain.
“People criticise me and give me a bad image. I don’t know why. I’m not this guy they paint a bad picture of. They call me lazy and I only play when I feel like it, but that’s not true.
“Saying I don’t want to play in the Championship does not make me a bad person. I was lucky coming here because Martin (Jol, Fulham manager) knows me not just as a footballer but as a person.
“He knows the real me. Everyone says I’m a bad boy, but not Martin. Yes I can get a bit upset on the pitch, who doesn’t?”
Taarabt, who scored five goals in QPR’s relegation campaign last season, has praised the stability he has found at his new club.
He was one of three debutants in the Fulham side on Saturday, alongside goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and midfielder Derek Boateng, with Jol making six new signings in total, including ex-Sunderland striker Darren Bent - an unused substitute at the weekend.
“Fulham is a very different club to QPR,” the 24-year-old added.
“There are so many players here who have been here a long time — four or five years — and it’s more of a family club.
“Everyone is friends with each other. You sense it as soon as you walk in. Last year, QPR signed 12 players and there were many strangers. It was difficult.
“Here, there’s more of a team spirit. I’ve only been at Fulham a few weeks, but everyone has made me welcome. It’s not just about the players, but the backroom staff. Everyone at the club is so friendly.
“It’s one big happy family. That’s why people like to stay here, and it’s known as a friendly club for a good reason.”
“It was the perfect debut for me.”