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Sunday Fulham Stuff - 08/08/21...

Started by WhiteJC, August 08, 2021, 07:25:57 AM

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Matchday Preview

Fulham v Middlesbrough | Sunday 8th August | 1.30pm | Craven Cottage | #FULMID

The opposition

    After steering the club away from relegation danger when taking over from Jonathan Woodgate with eight games left of 2019/20, Neil Warnock oversaw a much improved campaign last year, with Boro finishing 10th in the Championship.
    Warnock has brought in five players with Championship know-how this summer, with Joe Lumley, Sammy Ameobi, Uche Ikpeazu, Lee Peltier and Matt Crooks all signing on, while he's added some South American flair in the form of highly rated midfielder Martin Payero.
    A few Boro stalwarts have departed, with record signing Britt Assombalonga heading to Turkey on a free transfer, George Saville rejoining Millwall, and Marvin Johnson moving south to Sheffield Wednesday.

Fulham team news

Marco Silva confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Tom Cairney will not feature on the opening day, while others – including Harrison Reed – need to be assessed.

Boro team news

Ameobi is out with a knee injury, while fellow new arrival Payero's involvement will depend on whether or not he receives international clearance in time. Hayden Coulson is isolating, and Marc Bola and Marcus Tavernier are doubts.

Matchday FAQs

Fans can familiarise themselves with matchday protocols here.

Virtual mascots

George, Joel and Sam will be flying the mascot flag on Sunday. We hope you all enjoy the day!


Things should stay dry during the game, with temperatures a mild 19 degrees.

Player insight

Tyrese Francois knows Sunday won't define the season, but is keen to hit the ground running nonetheless.

"There's so many games in the Championship, but everyone wants to get off to a good start and get those three points," he told FFCtv. "Ultimately we just want to play good football and win games.

"Middlesbrough will be a tough side, they always are. They've got a very experienced manager so it will be a tough game, but I'm sure we can do it."

Pre-match quotes

"The way [Boro] play, the way they try to do things, they are strong. In that style they are really tough to beat and it's up to us, in our way, to do what we want to do in the game, to show our quality."

Marco Silva
Fulham Head Coach

"Of the three [relegated] teams, I probably fancy Fulham more than any of the others, with the squad they've got. But we've got a decent squad so it'll be difficult for Fulham."
Neil Warnock
Middlesbrough Manager


Fulham vs Boro: The last five meetings

MIDDLESBROUGH head to Fulham for the first game of their Championship season on Sunday.

Neil Warnock's side head down to Craven Cottage for an afternoon kick-off against the Cottagers and newly appointed manager Marco Silva.

Digital Sports Writer Matty Jones has a look back on the last five meetings between the two sides:

Fulham 1-0 Middlesbrough (Friday 17th January 2020)

While Fulham were in the middle of a promotion push that would see them seal an immediate return to the Premier League, Boro were fighting against the threat of relegation.

Anthony Knockaert's sixth minute tap-in was the difference between the two sides with the Frenchman getting on the end of Joe Bryan's low delivery.

The Coattagers climbed up to third that evening while Boro were languishing in sixteenth place in the table.

Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham (Saturday 23rd October 2019)

Things were starting to really turn sour under Jonathan Woodgate from a Boro perspective and while it probably looked like a good result on paper, the game itself told a different story.

The home side were handed a huge opportunity early on in the game when Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak was sent off after just 17 minutes for handling Jonny Howson's shot from outside the box.

Lewis Wing struck the post from a free-kick but that was about as good as they could offer.

Boro couldn't capitalise on their man advantage and ended up drawing. After the game, Woodgate said Fulham going down to ten men killed the game off as his side slipped into the relegation zone.

Middlesbrough 0-1 Fulham (Saturday 13th January 2018)

Boro suffered an agonising defeat at the Riverside Stadium under Tony Pulis as Oliver Norwood scored a penalty for the Cottagers in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time.

Grant Leadbitter was the guilty party as he tripped up Norwood in the box.

Boro banged on the door throughout the game with chances from Rudy Gestede and Britt Assombalonga. Britt struck the bar while Gestede missed two one-on-one chances. 

Both teams were gunning for a play-off spot and Fulham ended up overtaking Boro after the result as the home side slipped to ninth in the table.

Fulham 1-1 Middlesbrough (Saturday 23rd September 2017)

Spirits were high inthe Boro camp following a late equaliser at Craven Cottage.

It looked like Boro were condemned to defeat when Aboubakar Kamara got on the receiving end of Ryan Sessegnon's cross in the 86th minute.

However, two minutes later, Cyrus Christie seized upon the ball behind the Fulham defence and rifled low into the bottom corner.

Boro climbed to fifth in the table under the tenureship of Garry Monk, who was later sacked in December.

Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough (Tuesday 24th August 2016)

Middlesbrough had returned to the Premier League while Fulham were still in the Championship but it was the Cottagers who came out on top in this EFL Cup tie.

Boro led through David Nugent in the eight minute but were pegged back in the second half by Julian De Sart's inadvertent own goal. Remember him?

With the game heading to penalties, Lasse Vigen Christensen turned in Malone's low cross took book their place in round three.


Hilton seals U23s win over Brighton

Sonny Hilton scored the only goal of the game as Fulham's under 23s wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a narrow win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Motspur Park yesterday.

The attacking midfielder, fresh from a loan spell with Finnish side TPS, produced a fabulous low finish from outside the box to provide a timely reminder of his quality ahead of the new campaign. Hilton's moment of magic settled a tight contest in favour of the home side, who included Cyrus Christie, Luca Ashby-Hammond and Jay Stansfield in a strong line-up.

There was an early let off for the Whites when Brighton failed to take advantage of a glorious chance inside the opening minute as a devilish cross threatened to catch the Fulham defence out before defenders Idris Odutayo and Ziyad Larkeche were denied by good saves. Adrion Pajaziti shot over and Luke Harris' bicycle was easily saved as the Whites began to take control.

Harris had a free header at the far post superbly saved, but Hilton's terrific drive arrowed into the bottom corner to give Steve Wigley's side the lead. Christie had a header clawed away as Brighton lived a little dangerously and Hilton almost grabbed a second, but a blistering half volley was well saved.

The little midfielder kept trying his luck from distance and was denied just after the restart by another fingertip stop. Ollie O'Neill saw his shot scrambled off the goal line after he slalomed his way through the Brighton defence form the left flank and Christie came close with another header in Fulham's next attack.

FULHAM (4-3-3): L. Ashby-Hammond, Fossey, Christie, Odutayo, Larkeche; Page (Bowie 69), Harris, Pajaziti; Hilton, O'Neill, Stansfield (Ablade 45). Subs (not used): Las, D'Auria-Henry, Lanquedoc, Araujo.


Mr Khan's Programme Notes

As I welcome you to the start of a new season here at Craven Cottage in front of you, our loyal supporters, I would like to reflect on events that have taken place since my last notes back in May. 

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Fisher, a remarkable fan who followed Fulham home and away for many years. Tony was voted 'Super Fan' in 2018, which meant bringing out the Championship Play-Off Final trophy onto the pitch at Wembley Stadium before kick-off at our game against Aston Villa. I hope that was a special moment for Tony. I know it's a memory we will always treasure here at the Club.

My memory of Tony was sharing time with him in a 30-minute special that the NBC television network produced on Fulham in the U.S. during the summer of 2018 ahead of our return to the Premier League. NBC informed us that the feature would highlight our early and recent history as well as comments from me, Tim Ream and a to-be-named supporter who embodied our values and understood the joys, and sometime challenges, of backing Fulham. That supporter would be Tony Fisher.

The production schedule did not permit for all of this to take place at once, so I was essentially introduced to Tony when I saw the broadcast. My reaction then, and now, was that Tony Fisher was perfectly cast. He was the quintessential Fulham Football Club supporter, and that's how we'll remember him.

My thoughts are with Tony's family and friends, as I am sure that the start to the season without Tony will be a painful one. I have the sense Tony will be with us all the same, today and throughout the season, and we will do our best at all times to honour his faithful support.

We embark on this campaign in the Championship, and I would like to welcome the players, fans and club personnel of Middlesbrough who are visiting us here this afternoon. Of course, it is also wonderful to have you, and each and every Fulham supporter, coming through the turnstiles again at Craven Cottage. We've waited a long time to again enjoy a genuine football experience here and throughout grounds in England and beyond. I've personally been away too long due to the pandemic, and I am going to relish every moment of reliving the traditions and experiences that come with matchday at Craven Cottage.

We have a lot of respect for the Championship, and have enjoyed great success in our last two campaigns in this division. Ultimately, however, it is a league that we will dedicate our ambition and desire to leave behind us again, nine months from now. We are under no illusions of the task ahead of us, but I firmly believe that under the new stewardship of Marco Silva and his backroom team, that we have the right people in charge to lead us forward with this goal in mind.

It was important for me to interview our next coach in person, especially given that we were looking at candidates from outside the Club. The borders of Portugal were open, so we agreed to connect there, but I would have met him anywhere based on the favourable reports I had received in the weeks prior to the interview. Marco impressed me from the start, and the work that he has undertaken since being appointed has been equally notable. Marco is working tirelessly to ensure that his preparations will give us the best possible chance to realise success this season, and I hope you will give him a warm ovation this afternoon. I know that you will be excited to see Luis Boa Morte walk across the Craven Cottage pitch once again, this time in the role of assisting Marco as First Team Coach as we aim for a great start and compete for promotion.

With all new dawns come goodbyes. I would like to thank all of our former players who are starting the season elsewhere, and in particular want to commend Marcus Bettinelli, Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen for their service to the Club over many years. I wish them continued success on the pitch and, in Kevin's case, good health off it as he continues his recovery. All three players understood and appreciated the honour of wearing the Fulham badge, and they wore it well. Conversely, we were fortunate to be the beneficiaries of their commitment and class. Best of luck, gentlemen!

And now, we begin a new chapter that will include Harry Wilson and Paulo Gazzaniga. I believe both are exceptional additions to our squad and I've personally loved reading what each of them have had to say about joining Fulham and seizing the opportunity ahead. That spirit, combined with what they deliver as players, is just what we're looking for. Welcome, Harry and Paulo!

For one last note on the First Team, I'd like to congratulate Bobby De Cordova-Reid for earning Goal of the Tournament honours as a member of the Jamaica National Team in the Concacaf Gold Cup competition that ended last weekend. If you haven't seen it, do look for it online. Nicely done, Bobby!

Behind the scenes work is, always, ongoing both on and off the pitch and we are delighted to announced new partners that are now part of the Fulham family: World Mobile joins as Principal Partner which will adorn the front of the new season's shirt, and Spreadex, another Principal Partner which will feature on its reverse. I'll confess that I look forward to our new kits each year as much as anyone, and was thrilled with both the overall design and how our partners' brands feature on the shirts both home and away. I thank and commend all involved, and want to also extend my appreciation to our entire roster of official Club partners and suppliers, old and new. These partnerships are testament to the hard-working commercial team here, and those we have welcomed, along with those still with us, share our optimism and ambition for the future.

In our Academy there have been some changes to maximise the continued success of our youth programmes going forward. Huw Jennings' promotion to Head of Football Development is a role that he will relish as we strive to develop closer domestic and international links in a post-Brexit era, strengthening Fulham's reach to recruit and nurture talent. Mike Cave's promotion to Academy Director will ensure that we sustain our elite Category One status, providing the best possible platform for players to achieve success. Finally, Colin Omogbehin's promotion to First Team Development Coach will ensure the development pathway from Academy to First Team is a seamless transition.

And, be assured that our Academy will always be a priority. Its importance was underlined in our friendly last weekend against Charlton, when Tyrese Francois threaded a spectacular feed to Fabio Carvalho who converted for the only goal of the match and a 1-0 win for Fulham. Both youngsters are products of our Academy and will undoubtedly play a role in our mission ahead this season. It was a rewarding moment for both, as well as our Academy, and I am confident there will be many more.

As you will see today, the work on the Riverside Stand continues at pace and with each month that passes, we are seeing a fantastic piece of architecture and design develop along the Thames, but importantly, one that will be accessible to fans, residents, and visitors. A proposal for a river boat service, at Fulham Pier, that is specifically designed for commuting, leisure and community use, will connect the Riverside Stand development to central London and will offer the local community improved transport infrastructure. This will be a real landmark that we can all be proud of, as it will be a signature of Fulham Football Club while serving the local community and city that have been our home for well over a century.

Now it's time for football! And, compared to a year ago, I am delighted to be able to say that knowing we will have thousands on hand at Craven Cottage today and throughout the season to enjoy it. Let's back Marco and the squad as we aim to start the season brightly with three points versus Middlesbrough. And, as ever, thank you for your passion and belief in Fulham Football Club.

Come on, Fulham!


Huddersfield Away Tickets

Tickets for Fulham's first away game of the 2021/22 season against Huddersfield Town go on sale from 10am on Monday.

Marco Silva's side make the trip to the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday 14th August, kick-off 3pm, and 2021/22 Season Ticket Holders and Members will be able to secure their seat from 10am on Monday 9th August. Tickets will then go on General Sale from 10am on Tuesday 10th August, with fans able to secure up to six tickets per person.

Tickets for this fixture are priced at £25 for adults, £20 for supporters aged 60 and over, £15 for under 19's and £10 for under 11's.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 0203 871 0810 (Mon – Fri, 9am-5pm).

Further Information

    Non-standing seats are available to purchase over the phone only in block A06 on the front rows.
    Concessions may be challenged on entry, ID may be required.
    Collections available from Huddersfield Ticket Office, Window 2 from 1pm on matchday.
    Bags will be searched on entry.

Disabled Supporters

    8 pairs of tickets available on an elevated platform priced as above with carers free of charge.
    Ambulant disabled tickets taken out of standard allocation, priced as above with carers free of charge.
    If a supporter's preference is to manage as few stairs as possible, Huddersfield recommends tickets on Rows Y-CC as this is where the supporter enters the stand.
    If a supporter's preference is to have an unobstructed view due to standing that sometimes takes place at football, Huddersfield recommends seats on Row A as this is situated behind the wheelchair users and would have an unobstructed view of the pitch

Coach Travel

    Coaches will depart from Motspur Park & Craven Cottage at 7am on matchday
    Coach tickets priced at £30 for adults and £20 for juniors if you are a Season Ticket Holder or Member. £35 for adults and £25 for juniors if you are not.


    Parking can be booked in the Gasworks Car Park, approximately a 10 minute walk from the stadium at a cost of £5 and must be done in advance. Visit or call 01484 960606.


Matchday FAQs

Ahead of the start of the 2021/22 season, information for supporters attending matches at Craven Cottage.

Supporter safety at Craven Cottage is of paramount importance, the Club continues to follow Government recommendations while also implementing safety protocols on-site.

For supporters attending Fulham v Middlesbrough on Sunday, we remind you that any match tickets purchased must have been printed at home in advance. All supporters are encouraged to arrive early, with queues expected.
When buying a ticket do I have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test?
Will there be staggered arrival times on Matchday?
Will all turnstiles be open?
Will hand sanitisers be available at entrance points?
Will the Store and Ticket Office be open?
Will there be Matchday Programmes on sale and where?
Do I have to wear a face covering?
Will I be able to bring a bag to Craven Cottage?
Will all toilet facilities be available?
Can I purchase food and beverages at Craven Cottage?
Will there be gaps in the seating arrangements still?
Can I change seats if I feel uncomfortable?
Will there be a staggered departure for fans?
Will there be increased cleaning around the Stadium?


Up next: Middlesbrough (h)

As Marco Silva has already mentioned this week, being at Craven Cottage for his first game in charge of Fulham is exactly what he would have chosen had he been allowed to operate the fixture computer himself. Middlesbrough, managed by the wily Neil Warnock, represent an immediate test of Fulham's Championship credentials and will be eager to spring a surprise on the opening weekend. Silva clearly respects Warnock, who has a hell of a promotion record from this division, even if his Everton side beat the Cardiff team that the now-Boro boss was in charge, twice in the 2018/2019 campaign.

New surroundings for Silva add to the intrigue. While we have a good idea of what style of football he will favour there are still plenty of question left to be answered about the personnel. We got a glimpse of what the Silva era might delivery in last weekend's friendly victory over Charlton. I felt there were some tangible tactical tweaks from the ponderous Parker period with snappier and swifter forward passing leading to vertical attacking designed to put the opposition on the back foot. Fabio Carvalho came to the fore again – and after an outstanding start to his Fulham career, you could easily see him flourishing under Silva. The emergence of Carvalho and Tyrese Francois makes me question if the Whites really do need another midfielder at this point.

Tim Ream wore the captain's armband and defended diligently against Charlton's – he was my man of the match on that basis. The American appears to be part of Silva's preferred central defensive partnership, although there's clearly still a question mark over who lines up in goal. Marek Rodak is expected to be fit for the visit of Middlesbrough, but that doesn't mean that Paulo Gazzaniga won't grab hold of the first team's goalkeeping jersey. The Argentine acquitted himself excellently when he stepped in for Hugo Lloris at Spurs and I doubt he has come to the Cottage to just sit on the bench. The only serious injury doubts surround Harrison Reed, with club captain Tom Cairney and Terence Kongolo out for a few weeks yet.

Middlesbrough will be a tough nut to crack. They have had an excellent pre-season, winning four out of fives games, and Warnock has switched systems over the summer. Boro previously lined up in a 4-2-3-1 but have adopted a back three in recent times and it is expected that this is the approach Warnock will favour on Sunday lunchtime. His sides are often physical and combative and are designed to pinch possession and get on the front foot.

Warnock can call upon some excellent crosses of a ball to feed his forwards and those deliveries come in handy at set pieces, should Fulham foolishly concede fouls in dangerous area. The Whites should watch one for the intelligent movement of Ducan Watmore, who could be a focal point – especially if the visitors decide to operate on the counter attack. If Boro are determined and diligent, it could be a very long day.

Middlesbrough will be determined and persistent, with Warnock's high-octane blend of passion and tactical acumen, and will have a carefully constructed game plan designed to quell some of Silva's attacking intent. It won't be easy but I'm backing the Whites get off to a solid start – with a two-goal victory.

MY FULHAM XI (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga; Tete, Robinson, Ream, Adarabioyo; Anugissa, Seri; Wilson, Kebano, Carvalho; Mitrovic.


Kebano a key player for Fulham, says Silva

Neeskens Kebano will play a big part in Fulham's season, says his new boss.

The DR Congo international joined in 2016, but after just 28 starts in five years under the Whites' four different managers, the man in the shadows looked ready to join Sunday's opponents, Middlesbrough.

In January, the 29-year-old was loaned to Boro where he got a further 15 appearances under his belt, with former QPR boss Neil Warnock hoping to keep him.

Marco Silva had other plans.

And Silva reckons Kebano now has a chance to stake a claim to a regular spot.

"It's good for us that we have a good number of players that know really well the competition and what it means to play for Fulham Football Club in the Championship," Silva said.

"Some of them in the past had a very good taste of what it means to get promotion, and Kebano is one of them.

"He's a player who knows really well the club, knows really well the competition. Of course, he's a player that is a part of my plans."


Silva sees key role for Kebano

Marco Silva insists that Neeskens Kebano will play a pivotal part in Fulham's season after deciding to keep him at Craven Cottage.

The Congolese winger scored a penalty against Southampton and started the Whites' final pre-season friendly against Charlton last weekend having impressed Fulham's new head coach after he took over from Scott Parker. Kebano is in with a chance of making the starting line-up for tomorrow's Championship opener against Middlesbrough, with whom he spent a successful loan spell in the second half of last season.

Silva told his pre-match press conference yesterday – as quoted by West London Sport:

"It's good for us that we have a good number of players that know really well the competition and what it means to play for Fulham Football Club in the Championship. Some of them in the past had a very good taste of what it means to get promotion, and Kebano is one of them. He's a player who knows really well the club, knows really well the competition. Of course, he's a player that is a part of my plans."

Kebano, who has scored fifteen goals in 96 appearances for Fulham since signing from Genk five years ago, made just five appearances for the Whites last season and Neil Warnock was reportedly keen to sign the winger permanently. But Silva sees the 29 year-old as adding an exciting option out wide and will be hoping Kebano can repeat the sort of impact that saw him score five goals in four games at the end of Fulham's last promotion push.


Marco Silva aims to stop the yo-yo years and bring Fulham stability

After four years of promotion and relegation, Fulham want the former Everton and Watford manager to build long-term success with a talented squad

Marco Silva has managed Hull, Everton and Watford in the Premier League but has yet to manage in the second tier. Photograph: Javier García/BPI/Shutterstock

After Fulham's latest attempt to escape Premier League relegation had run its unfulfilling course, Scott Parker identified the trend that has defined their last four years. "The rollercoaster and the highs and lows [are] not something you want," he said. "We need to try and get off this rollercoaster that we're on. We need to break that cycle."

Parker will not be around to have a go, having decamped to their likely Championship promotion rivals Bournemouth. If Fulham, favourites for the title, are successful this time then it will be their fifth consecutive yo-yoing between the top two divisions and it is not hard to imagine a numbing effect taking hold. Football fans were not conditioned to treat the imposters of success and failure equally.

On the face of things it was a surprise, then, that they chose Marco Silva to drive a more sustainable path forward. Silva forged a big early reputation during a spirited, if doomed, rearguard action with Hull four years ago, before flickering in subsequent spells with Watford and Everton, though only once completing a full season. Perhaps the fact club and manager both need to set down roots will be mutually beneficial.

Silva wants to distance himself from any suggestion he is a fly-by-night. "If you ask me whether it's a good opportunity to show myself as a manager in a longer period, I agree with you," he said on Friday. "If you ask me if I didn't show what I can do as a manager in the past I disagree with you totally, because you can have five months in one football club and show you have quality as well. I think in all of them we had an impact straightaway, developed players, played football, had very good progress."

Fulham certainly require a strong start and Silva, yet to manage a game in the second tier, might have picked an easier opening assignment than Sunday lunchtime's visit of Neil Warnock and Middlesbrough. Outwardly their transfer business has been encouraging: nobody has been sold and the £12m signing of Harry Wilson means Fulham acquire someone else who could do with a long-term home. Paulo Gazzaniga also provides seasoned competition in goal. But, as Silva pointed out, the core of the side that fell short last time has left through the back door.

Fabio Carvalho in action in pre-season. Big things are hoped for from the talented 18-year-old, born in Portugal but representing England at youth level. Photograph: Javier García/Shutterstock

"It's not true that we kept all the squad," he said. Six high-profile loanees have departed: Alphonse Areola, Joachim Andersen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ademola Lookman, Josh Maja and Ola Aina. Given they made 155 top-flight starts between them last season it is a sizeable gap to fill; although packing the ranks with short-term signings meant Fulham were not, as in previous seasons, lumbered with a fresh raft of high earners upon demotion, it was hardly a monument to sound squad building.

All the same, Silva can call upon eight players who went down with Fulham in 2018-19 and took them back up the following year. Aleksandar Mitrovic may have made minimal impact on last season's Premier League but scored 26 Championship goals last time and will surely be potent again if no big offers are forthcoming. Tom Cairney, Joe Bryan, Neeskens Kebano and Alfie Mawson are among others still around; so, improbably, is Jean Michaël Seri. Fulham's rapid-fire changes in status have led to their loaning players out, or simply jettisoning them, as sharply as they have shipped them in; the revolving door has been hard to keep pace with but it means Silva is, in theory at least, able to fall back on a rump of individuals who have succeeded before.

It is an odd, if richly talented, mix and Silva does not have long to wheel and deal his way to a team in his own image. He can take heart that the 18-year-old Fabio Carvalho is a sumptuously talented forward who has already broken his goalscoring duck at top-flight level. Carvalho should be heavily involved over the coming months, having shone further during an outstanding pre-season, and Fulham should benefit from his freshness.

Silva finds himself balancing the need to correct Fulham's undulations with the imperative that stares him in the face. "If you ask me what I would like to do straightaway it is to get the 'up' [of the rollercoaster] again," he said. "In the future we will have time to talk about how will stop this 'up and down, up and down' every time. But it's not a question for the moment: we want to go up, it'll be tough and all our focus is on this competition."

On paper Silva should be able to navigate through the consequences of half a decade's flux and give Fulham their latest day in the sun, even if the glow may be dimming. "We have the chance to create, to build and to finalise something in terms of a project," he said. "I always want as a manager to build something important." It is time for both parties to show they can achieve it.


Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo makes failure admission ahead of Cottagers' Championship return

Craven Cottage star says Marco Silva's men must lay down a marker in their opening Championship clash against Middlesbrough

Tosin Adarabioyo says anything less than promotion will be deemed a failure at Fulham this season.

The Cottagers suffered relegation to the Championship in May but are looking to bounce straight back to the Premier League, just as they did two campaigns ago.

And ahead of a tough first game against Middlesbrough today, in what will be new boss Marco Silva's first game in charge, the 23-year-old and his pals are looking to lay down a marker.

He said: "We're going into the season for one thing and that's to get back to the Premier League.

"So anything short of that is definitely a failure.

"From day one of pre-season, relegation was behind us — obviously, we can't dwell on that for too long.

"It was a disappointment but we're all just focused on this season.

"We obviously have a different manager so it's different ways of playing, different systems, and we're all just getting used to that, getting used to the demands of the new manager and hopefully it all goes well.

"I'm feeling good, feeling ready to go and looking forward to the start against Middlesbrough.

"It's definitely the chance to lay down a marker, it's the first game of the season and every single team in the league is going to be wanting to win their first game. So it's going to be a tough one."

Adarabioyo was one of the few Fulham players who could hold his head high at the end of last season after performing well individually.

And while there wasn't one top-flight striker he wanted to single out as having given him a seriously difficult game, there certainly was one team.

He added: "It was the Premier League so there were obviously a lot of top strikers we came up against.

"But Manchester City was one of our toughest games, that was one of the only games I felt we weren't really in."

Fulham's meetings with City were big games for Adarabioyo given the fact he came through the ranks there before leaving for Craven Cottage last October.

And they also pitted him against a player from whom he learned so much.

Adarabioyo said: "Vincent Kompany had a good influence on me, obviously he had an amazing career and was one of the best centre-halves who has played in the Premier League.

"So I did take some things from him and I was lucky enough to be able to learn from him and see how he works.

"I probably learned the most from John Stones, though, he's a top centre-half and I tried to watch him a lot.

"The decisions he makes on the pitch, his playing style, how he sees the game... I was able to learn a fair bit from him watching him."

If Fulham are to play against Stones and Co again next season they will need Aleksandar Mitrovic to pick up where he left off in tier two.

Adarabioyo added: "Everybody knows what Mitro is about, especially in the Championship, he gets an incredible amount of goals."


Fulham set to offer Middlesbrough target Marco Silva lifeline

Neeskens Kebano has a big part to play in Fulham's season, according to manager Marco Silva.

The Cottagers are targeting an immediate return to the Premier League as they look to win promotion at the first time of asking this term.

Promotion is something Kebano has experienced not once, but twice before, in 2016/17 with Slavisa Jokanovic and with Scott Parker in 2019/20.

Kebano, who scored two goals in three play-off fixtures in 2019/20, fell out of favour and was sent on loan to Middlesbrough in the second half of last season.

The Congolese winger, who added four assists in 18 games for Boro, was targeted for a permanent swoop by manager Neil Warnock.

But Silva was keen for Kebano to remain at Craven Cottage, and believes the 29-year-old has a big part to play in the Cottagers' campaign.

Speaking to West London Sport, Silva said: "It's good for us that we have a good number of players that know really well the competition and what it means to play for Fulham Football Club in the Championship.

"Some of them in the past had a very good taste of what it means to get promotion, and Kebano is one of them.

"He's a player who knows really well the club, knows really well the competition. Of course, he's a player that is a part of my plans."

Coincidentally, Fulham face Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage tomorrow afternoon as the London club look to get their season off to a flyer.

The Verdict

I think this is a smart decision by Silva.

Kebano is one of the more senior and experienced players in the squad despite being only 29, and he knows what it takes to win promotion from this level.

He proved last season that he can still perform at a decent standard at this level, producing a number of impressive displays for Boro.

Fulham have so much talent going forward, and Kebano is a decent option to have as well.


Silva: 'I want to build something important'

There's an interesting profile of new Fulham head coach Marco Silva on the Guardian website ahead of the big kick off against Middlesbrough tomorrow.

It draws heavily on quotes from the Portuguese head coach's pre-match press conference at Motspur Park yesterday, but perhaps the most striking part is how the piece finishes with Silva sounding excited by the potential of building something permanent at Craven Cottage.

"We have the chance to create, to build and to finalise something in terms of a project. I always want as a manager to build something important."

There is a robust defence of his own managerial career and his ability, too.

"If you ask me whether it's a good opportunity to show myself as a manager in a longer period, I agree with you. If you ask me if I didn't show what I can do as a manager in the past I disagree with you totally, because you can have five months in one football club and show you have quality as well. I think in all of them we had an impact straightaway, developed players, played football, had very good progress."


Tosin: 'Anything short of promotion will be failure'

Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo admits anything short of an immediate return to the Premier League will be a failure.

The 23 year-old centre back, so impressive in his debut season at Craven Cottage despite Fulham's relegation, makes no bones about the fact that getting back to the top flight is the club's only objective this term.

He told the Mirror: "We're going into the season for one thing and that's to get back to the Premier League. So anything short of that is definitely a failure. From day one of pre-season, relegation was behind us — obviously, we can't dwell on that for too long. It was a disappointment but we're all just focused on this season.

We obviously have a different manager so it's different ways of playing, different systems, and we're all just getting used to that, getting used to the demands of the new manager and hopefully it all goes well."


Player 'close to being officially sold' to Fulham after Cottagers reached agreement with club

Fulham have stepped up their efforts to sign Flamengo's Rodrigo Muniz and are moving in the right direction to conclude the operation.

On August 6th, we covered claims made by journalist Venê Casagrande, explaining the Brazilian club's officials, along with the forward's agent, travelled to Spain to complete Muniz's sale to the Cottagers.

Casagrande even stated the two clubs have started exchanging the documents related to the transfer.

According to O Dia, the Championship side have found an agreement with Flamengo over signing the 20-year-old last Friday.

There were concerns over the deal collapsing after the English club 'did not send the necessary documentation to complete the operation'. However, it looks like that's been taken care of as the operation is back on track.

Flamengo are scheduled to take on Internacional in the league tie on Sunday and their manager, Renato Gaúcho, has left Muniz out of the squad.

O Dia explain the attacker was not listed for the weekend clash because 'he is close to being officially sold to Fulham', having recovered from a Covid-19 infection.


Club turn attention to Fulham man in attempt to satisy manager – Cottagers want €20m

Roma have turned their attention to Fulham midfielder Franck Zambo Anguissa as they look to bolster their midfield this summer.

That's according to Corriere Dello Sport, who say Fulham are demanding as much as €20m for their man.

The Italian side are keen to improve their midfield this summer and had seemingly set up a deal for Arsenal's Granit Xhaka, who was the first choice for manager Jose Mourinho.

However, they failed to do a deal with Arsenal for the midfielder, with the two clubs having been very far apart in their valuations of the Switzerland star.

That deal is now dead in the water, so the Serie A side have turned their attention elsewhere.

Corriere say two of the names on their list are Anguissa and Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Delaney, both of whom are available this summer.

Fulham are asking for €20m for their man while Dortmund would be satisfied with €12m, but any move is likely to be late because Roma are limited in what they can do.

Their market is 'struggling to get off the ground', and they need to get rid of players before they can further invest and get the midfielder that Mourinho wants.

It means a move for either Anguissa or Delaney is likely to come later in the window, but the Fulham man is a target nonetheless.


Fulham fighting to hang on to teen prodigy Fabio Carvalho as 18-year-old Portuguese winger rejects new contract... with West Ham, Leeds, Norwich and Porto all keeping tabs

    Fulham are struggling to keep hold of teenage star winger Fabio Carvalho
    The 18-year-old Portuguese has rejected Fulham's offer of a new contract
    West Ham, Leeds, Norwich and Porto are all interested in signing Carvalho

Fulham have hit a contract impasse with 18-year-old prodigy Fabio Carvalho amid interest from West Ham, Leeds, Norwich and Porto.

Carvalho, who scored on his Premier League debut against Southampton last season, has turned down an initial offer from The Londoners as he enters the final year of his current deal.

Fulham won't want to lose the teenage winger who was born in Portugal but moved to England at an early age and has come through the club's academy.

Fulham are in a tense stand-off with Fabio Carvalho after he rejected their new contract offer

Carvalho (right), 18, is attracting interest from clubs like West Ham, Leeds, Norwich and Porto

He made six first-team appearances under Scott Parker last season and owners Shahid and Tony Khan face a difficult decision whether to cash in if they can't reach agreement with the youngster over a new deal.

Carvalho, who has impressed in pre-season and sung the praises of new manager Marco Silva, could feature in Fulham's opening Championship game at home to Middlesbrough on Sunday in place of injured club captain Tom Cairney.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are willing to let 20-year-old midfielder James Garner go on loan again this season with Stoke City and Nottingham Forest leading the running.

Garner has previously had loan spells at Watford and Forest and United are open to him trying new experiences at another club though Garner did enjoy his time at The City Ground and may prefer a return there.


Carvalho turns down new Fulham deal

Fabio Carvalho has rejected Fulham's offer of a new contract as he considers from a host of Premier League clubs, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The teenager starred towards the tail end of last season as he was introduced to the senior side with the Whites battling against the drop. Having made his first team debut against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup, Carvalho got his Premier League bow as a substitute at Stamford Bridge before scoring on his first senior start at Southampton. He made six appearances in total and has impressed new manager Marco Silva during pre-season.

Carvalho, who scored the winner in last weekend's final friendly win over Charlton, is expected to start this afternoon's Championship opener against Middlesbrough in the absence of club captain Tom Cairney. Fulham are desperate to keep the 18 year-old at Craven Cottage as he enters the final year of his current contract but their first attempt at tying the talented playmaker to a longer deal failed.

Several sides are looking at the Portuguese-born attacking midfielder, including West Ham, Leeds United, Norwich City and Porto.


Leeds and West Ham among clubs chasing Fulham ace as contract rejected

Fulham winger Fabio Carvalho is attracting interest from a number of clubs, as the Cottagers battle to retain his services, a report from The Daily Mail has claimed.

The 18-year-old emerged onto the scene in the latter stages of last season, making six senior appearances for the Cottagers, and scoring in their 3-1 defeat at Southampton.

Now it seems as though that has attracted plenty of attention in the teenager from elsewhere, which it seems could prove problematic for the Cottagers.

According to this latest update, Premier League trio Leeds United, West Ham and Norwich City, as well as Portuguese giants Porto are all interested in signing the teenager.

It is also thought that Carvalho has rejected the initial offer of a new contract with Fulham, with the winger entering the final year of his current deal at Craven Cottage.

Fulham are said to be reluctant to lose their prodigy, but is has been suggested that they may have to weigh up whether or not to sell Carvalho this summer, if they are unable to reach an agreement over a new contract with the Portugal born England youth international.

The Verdict

This will be a big blow for Fulham if they are to lose Carvalho this summer.

The winger showed last season how much ability he already possesses, meaning he could flourish in the Championship, and play a key role in their promotion push were he to stay.

Indeed, at 18-year-old, there is still plenty of time for him to improve as well, so Fulham could be losing a potential long-term asset for years to come, if Carvalho is to move on this summer.

However, the level of interest there is in Carvalho could make it hard for Fulham to hold off that interest, particularly given top-flight football will surely be appealing for the teenager.