After a couple of disappointing results against Wolves and Blackburn in recent weeks, Fulham managed to scrape all three points from yesterday’s fixture against Rotherham.
While, it was sad to see Rotherham relegated due to our victory, Fulham couldn’t afford to come home with anything less than three points, considering how tight it is between ourselves and Sheffield Wednesday heading into the final play-off position. With, Sheffield Wednesday only drawing to Barnsley in the 94th minute, Fulham had a chance to leap-frog and finish the weekend in the top six. Despite our game against Rotherham being quite the scrappy affair, teams that get promoted out of the Championship still manage to get results even when they are playing poorly, and yesterday Fulham managed to do just that.
Fair play to Rotherham, they were always going to get men behind the ball and that’s something Fulham have struggled to break down and it’s generally the reason why we’ve conceded the goals we have this season, due to being hit on the counter after struggling to break down the defence in the final third. But, nonetheless Fulham got the job done and seeing our club in the top six considering where we were just a year ago is simply mind blowing.
At the start of the season, I suggested that a top 10 or 12 finish would be an achievement considering the poor displays we have shown since being relegated from the Premier League. With another summer overhaul, new manager and ideas to implement, I expected us to be inconsistent, but massive congratulations to the managerial staff and the players for coming together this season and providing the fans with a team they can be proud of. With Fulham now playing an attractive brand of football and getting results, it’s no surprise that our rise this season has been well-documented. Slavisa Jokanovic has managed to completely revolutionise the way we are playing, and has moulded together a squad that are all comfortable on the ball and are happy to be patient -even if I sometimes want us to play direct when things aren’t going our way!
We’ve come such a long way in the space of the year and with Slav’s future now secured, the future really is bright for Fulham once again, and I know I’m not the only one who feels like we finally have our Fulham back.
Throughout our achievements this season, it’s no surprise our attackers have received a lot of praise and attention and rightly so. While, Tom Cairney, Sone Aluko or Stefan Johansen may be stand out candidates for our Player of the Season award, my Player of the Season so far has been summer signing, Kevin McDonald.
Now, I have to hold my hands up as I questioned his ability upon signing, but since day one I have been made to eat humble pie. McDonald is the architect of this side and is the reason why our attackers have the licence to roam and freedom to play the way they do. Not only does McDonald have an incredible understanding of the game and breaking down play, but the Scot’s passing range is second to none. Having someone of his ability in the heart of the midfield is simply a joy to watch, and time after time this season he has been a wall in front of our back four and has dictated every game. Not only that, but even on some occasions the big Scot has been asked to fill in at centre-half and he effortlessly delivered.
After this seasons performances, it’s no surprise the club pursued the midfielder for nearly 2 seasons before joining and it’s incredible that the team at the top managed to secure his transfer for just £1.25m.
A midfield colossus, thank you Kevin McDonald.
To conclude, Fulham now face 7 cup finals before the end of the season, as they have to play the teams around them, including Huddersfield, Derby, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday. But on top of that, still have a tough game on the 17th April as they take on an in-form Aston Villa side. Despite a tough end to the season ahead of Jokanovic’s squad, the win against Rotherham to place us in the top six will bring our confidence back and will hopefully provide the momentum needed to secure ourselves in the play-offs come May.
Thank you for your ongoing support and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on Twitter @ABronsSmith.