Fulham have learned from past mistakes to mount incredible Premier League return

Fulham’s first season back in the Premier League has been hugely impressive as the Cottagers have all but secured their safety in the top flight and could even claim a European spot. In terms of the domestic cups they also reached the last eight which is demonstrative of the strength and commitment of the overall squad this season.

Keeping Faith in Long-Term Players

Fulham have made a solid return to the Premier League while still providing minutes to many long-term servants of the club. The Cottagers have established themselves as a stable top-half outfit this season. In the Premier League betting markets, Fulham are seen to be in with an outside chance of finishing in the top six offered at 13/1. The West London side has shown they can compete with the top teams in the league this season. Against Manchester City, at the Etihad Stadium, they were seconds away from holding one of the favourites in the English Premier League title odds. Pep Guardiola’s side are offered at EVENS to win the league and needed a late penalty to achieve victory against what is now a formidable Fulham side.

Often when teams are promoted the players that helped them in their journey are replaced by new signings. The gap in quality between the Premier League and the English Football League Championship is significant and some players can not adapt to the increase in competitiveness of the top flight. However, Fulham has maintained faith in some of its long-term stars such as Aleksandr Mitrovic and Tom Cairney. Mitrovic is one of the league’s leading goalscorers, he has not slowed down since last season’s record-breaking return. The Serbian managed 11 goals in his first 19 Premier League appearances and has been instrumental in Fulham’s rise into the top half. Tim Ream has also been imperious at the back and was a player that many doubted could perform at the Premier League level. He has been a leader at the back for Fulham and has performed exceptionally on either side of a solid FIFA World Cup campaign with the United States. 

Incredible Recruitment

Fulham have in the past applied a scattergun approach to recruitment following their promotions to the Premier League. With the huge uptake in funds available after earning their place in the league, they at times committed to buying quantity rather than quality. However, Fulham has shown that signing fewer players to genuinely improve the squad is much more beneficial than overhauling the entire squad in preparation for Premier League football. Fulham signed a number of Premier League-proven players such as Issa Diop from West Ham and Andreas Pereira from Manchester United. However, the most successful signing arguably came from overseas in Joao Palhinha, the former Sporting Club midfielder who received interest from England’s leading clubs prior to joining Fulham. He has been one of the league’s leading midfielders this season and has been the heartbeat of Fulham’s system. The Portuguese star has elevated the level of all of the players surrounding him and has provided chances in abundance for the attacking players.

Fulham’s strong return to the peak of the English pyramid has been the result of a well-planned approach to squad building. The long-term core has remained at the club while crucial transfers have been made to add sufficient quality around them. Fulham would have surely been satisfied with avoiding relegation this season, but now they could achieve much more.