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Thursday Fulham Stuff - 21/10/21...

Started by WhiteJC, October 21, 2021, 12:12:09 AM

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Preston NE
West Brom


Fulham 2-0 Cardiff City

Tom Cairney celebrates his goal, his first since October 2020

Fulham climbed to second place in the Championship with a win over Cardiff City to intensify the pressure on Bluebirds manager Mick McCarthy.

Both sides hit the woodwork in an open and unexpectedly even first half.

Substitute Tom Cairney returned after nearly a year out injured to put Fulham ahead with a beautiful strike.

Aleksandar Mitrovic added the hosts' second as Cardiff slumped to a seventh straight league defeat for the first time since 1934.

A convincing second-half display sees Fulham leapfrog West Bromwich Albion into the automatic promotion places after the Baggies lost at Swansea City.

As for Cardiff, although this performance was a vast improvement on Sunday's dismal 3-0 derby thrashing at Swansea, a seventh successive defeat still leaves McCarthy clinging on to his job with Cardiff now down to 21st in the table.

Some fans had called for him to be sacked long before last weekend's debacle, and it is believed the club's hierarchy only stuck with the former Republic of Ireland manager because they did not want to burden a potential successor with a fixture as daunting as Fulham away.

As such, this game at Craven Cottage and Saturday's match at home to Middlesbrough are thought to be McCarthy's last chance.

His team were overwhelming underdogs against a Fulham side led in attack by the Championship's top scorer Mitrovic, who now has more goals than the entire Cardiff squad this season.

The home side were quick to seize control of possession and force Cardiff back into their own half - but it was the Bluebirds who had the game's first chance as Kieffer Moore's audacious first-time left-footed effort from a tight angle cannoned into the post.

The first half was played at a furious pace as both sides attacked with intent and, seven minutes later, the woodwork was shaking once more.

Fulham's former Cardiff midfielder Harry Wilson looked to be clean through on goal but instead of shooting, he backheeled the ball to Neeskens Kebano, whose low strike hit the post.

Further scoring opportunities followed at both ends, with Harrison Reed going close for Fulham, and Rubin Colwill and Mark McGuinness threatening for Cardiff.

The second half did not reach the frantic heights of the first and that appeared to suit Fulham, who fashioned the first opening as Mitrovic had a header saved by Alex Smithies.

The home side then made the breakthrough with a hugely popular goal at Craven Cottage as midfielder Cairney marked his first appearance since December 2020 by guiding a characteristically elegant left-footed shot into the top corner.

Six minutes later the match was over as a contest, as Fulham punished slack Cardiff defending to set up Mitrovic inside the penalty area and the Serbian finished confidently to notch his 13th goal of the season.

Cardiff offered resistance - with Aden Flint and Moore among those to go close - but despite some signs of improvement, yet another defeat did little for McCarthy's job prospects and left his side tumbling further down the table, just one place and two points above the relegation zone.

Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy:

"It leaves me on the back end of a real horrible run of results. If football is true to its usual stuff, we know what happens - but I can't do anything about that.

"We've come back in off a bad defeat against Swansea, we've certainly had a better performance and I'll be doing exactly the same for Middlesbrough until I'm told differently.

"If we perform like that against other teams then we'll win games, but I'm afraid Fulham were too good and too strong for us."


Post-Cardiff Press Conference

Marco Silva was happy to see Fulham's patience pay dividends against Cardiff City.

We went into the break level despite dominating the first half, but kept persisting and came away with a 2-0 victory courtesy of efforts from Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrović.

"We can take many positives from the game," Silva said. "[If we score] some chances we had in the first half, of course the game can be different.

"But it is important in these type of moments, even if we don't score like we normally do, to keep patience, keep playing our game.

"I told them at half-time, some things that we should change for the second half; we don't have to rush our decisions, keep the right mindset and balance in our decisions, when we have to put speed in our game, when we have move the ball quick, but to keep some positions as well.

"It was important, the first goal, it is always important for us, the game will be more open. We know the space will be there as well.

"2-0, we deserve the three points clearly for us, clean sheet and important to see an important player like Tom come back and help us with the first goal."

Cairney's opener was a poignant moment, with our Club Captain marking his first appearance in 10 months in style after replacing the injured Harrison Reed.

"You can imagine how he was," Silva stated. "His feelings in that moment, helping the team in a moment when we need him.

"After the problem with Harrison Reed, as you know I have two solutions to decide; him or Josh Onomah.

"In that moment I felt the team needed a player to move the ball well, to give us more creativity in that position.

"If he is not the happiest, he is one of the happiest guys in the dressing room."


Cairney scores on return as Fulham beat Cardiff

Tom Cairney marked his long-awaited return with a goal as Fulham saw off struggling Cardiff at a rainswept Craven Cottage.

On for the injured Harrison Reed at half-time, Cairney smashed home his side's opener in the 57th minute when he beat Alex Smithies with powerful left-foot finish after Cardiff failed to clear a Harry Wilson cross.

Cairney, who had not played since Fulham drew 1-1 with Newcastle last December, appeared to be overcome with emotion after finding the back of the net to end the stubborn resistance of a Cardiff side who have now lost seven straight matches.

In-form Aleksandar Mitrovic added a second five minutes later after being teed up by Bobby Decordova-Reid with the big Serb giving former QPR keeper Smithies no chance with his close-range finish.

Both teams hit the woodwork in an evenly contested first half, but a limited Bluebirds side offered little going forward as Fulham dominated after the interval.

Cardiff did rally in the final 10 minutes and missed two decent chances when Aden Flint fired over from close range and Kiefer Moore had a shot well tipped over by Marek Rodak.

The win moved Fulham to second in the table, above West Brom who were beaten 2-1 at Swansea.

Fulham: Rodak, Odoi, Adarabioyo, Ream, Robinson, Reed (Cairney 45), Seri, Reid, Wilson (Stansfield 90), Kebano, Mitrovic (Muniz 87).
Subs not used: Tete, Onomah, Mawson, Gazzaniga.


Cairney's goalscoring return caps happy night for Fulham, as Cardiff flounder in the rain

Fulham (0) 2 Cairney 57, Mitrovic 63

Cardiff City (0) 0

Tom Cairney made the most dramatic of returns to the fold with a glorious rasping drive to set Fulham on their way to another home win.

The Scot has endured a frustratingly lengthy spell on the sidelines, recovering from a knee injury and just the sight of his arrival off the bench for the second half warmed the hearts of the Hammy End faithful.

Soon, he was warming them even more with a beautiful strike from 18 yards after a Harry Wilson run had ended in a Cardiff defender toeing it invitingly into Cairney's path.

It was his first appearance since a draw at Newcastle last December and he missed the entire second half of the Premier League campaign. But he was quick to make up for lost time as Fulham had fun in the teeming rain.

With Cardiff's resistance finally broken, the Whites soon doubled their lead as Aleksandar Mitrovic swept the ball home from a Bobby Reid cross for his 15th of the season for club and country.

How the Serbian loves the Championship. 

Fulham are up to second after this win and seemingly over that recent mauling at Coventry City. Sunday at Nottingham Forest can't come soon enough.

The Whites were predictably buoyant after Saturday's 4-1 demolition of neighbours QPR and soon on the attack – Reid glancing a header just wide from a Harry Wilson cross.

Neeskens Kebano scuffed a low left-footer against the base of a post. Harrison Reed ended a run from deep with an arrowed shot from the edge of the penalty area arc which needed to helped behind by Alex Smithies.

It was all quite a contrast with their moribund opponents who have fallen away badly under Mick McCarthy this season. 

The Bluebirds contested the play-offs with the Whites two seasons ago but are just above the bottom three having lost six on the bounce and were smarting from a 3-0 weekend drubbing at rivals Swansea.

Wales striker Kieffer Moore clipped the top of the crossbar early on to suggest there might at least be some obstinacy from the visitors, but Marco Silva's men always had too much for them.

Ex-Cardiff man Reid took plenty of stick from the visiting fans but came close to the opener at the start of the second half, as he had at the start of the game. Only a trailing leg from defender Mark McGuiness denied him with a block.

But his busy work would produce an assist and along with Wilson, he had Cardiff fretting all night long with his zestful running.

Marek Rodak had little to do but pulled off a fine one-handed save to deny Moore from 12 yards in the dying embers of the game.

Whites: (4-2-3-1) Rodak – Odoi, Tosin, Ream, Robinson – Seri, Reed (Cairney h/t) – Kebano, Wilson (Stansfield 90), De Cordova-Reid – Mitrovic (Muniz 89). Subs not used: Tete, Gazzaniga, Onomah, Mawson

Bluebirds: (4-2-3-1) Smithies – Ng, McGuiness, Flint, Bagan – Pack, Vaulks - Giles (Evans 66), Bowen (Collins 66), Colwill (M Harris 72)– Moore. Subs not used: Phillips, Morrison, Brown, Patten

Attendance: 15,789


Fulham 2-0 Cardiff City: Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic steer Cottagers to victory

Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Fulham and Cardiff City at Craven Cottage as goals from Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic piled more pressure on Bluebirds boss Mick McCarthy.

Tom Cairney marked his return after a 10-month absence with the goal that set Fulham on course for a 2-0 home win against Cardiff that increased the pressure on manager Mick McCarthy.

Cairney was introduced as a half-time substitute for his first appearance since December and he took just 12 minutes to fire the Cottagers in front.

Aleksandar Mitrovic added the second in the 63rd minute - his 13th league goal of the season - as Marco Silva's side moved up to second in the Championship.

For McCarthy, defeat means his struggling side have now lost their last seven league games, scoring just one goal in the process.

After such a dismal run of form, a trip to face a Fulham side buoyed by Saturday's comfortable 4-1 victory over QPR was hardly the fixture McCarthy would have chosen.

The Cardiff boss made five changes to the side that suffered a heavy defeat to rivals Swansea on Sunday.

But the ease with which Fulham forced a corner in the opening minute suggested this would be another testing 90 minutes for the Bluebirds.

It was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock, though, when Kieffer Moore latched onto a bouncing ball on the edge of the box and fired a seventh-minute shot against the angle of crossbar and post.

Fulham responded to that warning with a well-worked move that was started by Tosin Adarabioyo's through ball and ended with Neekens Kebano directing a shot against a post.

Silva's side controlled long periods of the game but failed to make the most of their first-half dominance.

Bobby Decordova-Reid saw a shot blocked when Mitrovic was better placed and Kebano wasted a good free-kick opportunity by firing into the defensive wall.

Cardiff midfielder Marlon Pack had followed Moore's example in threatening the Fulham goal early on but the visitors were forced to concentrate their efforts on keeping the Cottagers at bay as the game wore on.

Fulham were still lacking a cutting edge, however, until Cairney appeared as a replacement for Harrison Reed.

The midfielder made his presence felt in spectacular style when he met an attempted clearance on the full with a left-foot shot that flew past Alex Smithies.

Having made the breakthrough it was always likely that Fulham would quickly add a second.

And it came just six minutes later when Decordova-Reid caught out Cardiff left-back Joel Bagan and squared for Mitrovic who made no mistake with a first-time shot from 16 yards.

What the managers said...
Fulham's Marco Silva: "It was really important for Tom to come back with the goal, it was really important. And he deserves it after the last few months that have been so tough. It was important for him to get back. You can imagine how he was. It is easy to understand how he celebrated the goal, his feelings in that moment.

"He helped the team when we needed him. I felt the team needed a player with more calm, to move the ball differently and be creative. If he is not the happiest, he is one of the happiest players in our dressing room. We can take many positives from the game. We deserved the three points and the clean sheet is really important as well."

Cardiff's Mick McCarthy: "This leaves us on the back end of a really horrible run of results. And if football is true to its usual stuff, we know what happens. I can't do anything about that. We've certainly had a much better performance, and I'll be doing exactly the same for Middlesbrough unless I'm told different. I can't do any more than I am doing, I can't try any harder than I am doing.

"It was a vast improvement as a performance. The players were happier, as I was. If we perform like that against other teams we will get results. I have no qualms with the players, in terms of the effort and the performance. But we should be better on the ball. I have no criticism of them at all in terms of performance. But you can keep saying that but you've got to stop losing games.

"I was asked at the weekend if I had lost the dressing room, which is ridiculous. Tonight shows that I certainly haven't. But I feel pretty lousy because I don't like getting beaten."


Fulham 2-0 Cardiff: Tom Cairney ends 10-month injury hell by hammering home a magnificent half-volley before Aleksandar Mitrovic's slick finish as win pushes opposition boss Mick McCarthy closer to the exit

    Tom Cairney returned to action for the first time since December 2020
    The midfielder opened the scoring with a left-foot half-volley in the second half
    Aleksandar Mitrovic then fired home with a slick finish to double Fulham's lead
    Cardiff boss Mick McCarthy's job is on the brink after a seventh straight defeat

Tom Cairney emphatically ended 10 months of injury hell to earn Fulham a victory that pushes Cardiff boss Mick McCarthy closer to the exit.

Introduced to rapturous cheers at half-time, Fulham's captain nearly took the roof off Craven Cottage when he hammered home a sumptuous left-foot half-volley 12 minutes later.

It was Cairney's first action since December 19 last year and his first goal since netting against Crystal Palace almost exactly 12 months ago, finally drawing a line under the knee problems that have dogged him for so long.

Tom Cairney returned to action against Cardiff for the first time since December and scored

Cardiff boss Mick McCarthy (right) is closer to an exit after his side's seventh straight defeat

That memorable strike, set up by Harry Wilson's handiwork in weaving through Cardiff's defence in the build-up, was followed up by a slick finish by Aleksandar Mitrovic as Fulham boosted their promotion hopes.

But the writing looks to be on the wall for McCarthy after a seventh straight defeat, their optimistic opening to the Championship season a distant memory.

It remains to be seen if he even makes it to Saturday's home game with Middlesbrough, where nothing short of three points will be acceptable in arresting a slump that now sees them teetering just above the bottom three.

Fulham, by contrast, showed precisely why they're promotion favourites and if Cairney and Mitrovic stay fit and maintain this kind of form, they'll unquestionably be up there.

The opening half was far more even than the form book predicted. Cardiff, no doubt chastened by Sunday's 3-0 humbling by hated rivals Swansea, set out with plenty to prove. Fulham were slick at times and carved out chances they couldn't take.

The hosts were first to threaten with Bobby De Cordova Reid glancing Harry Wilson's cross narrowly wide of the far post before Harrison Reed blasted high and wide a minute later.

Both sides would strike the woodwork early on, Cardiff going first. Rubin Colwill flighted a pass down the left channel that Kieffer Moore was desperate to get onto.

The Wales striker stole half a yard and smashed a shot on the half-volley despite a difficult angle, striking the join of post and crossbar.

Not long afterwards, a smooth Fulham attack saw Jean Michael Seri pick out Wilson on the edge of Cardiff's box. His back flick was struck by Neeskens Kebano, arriving a fraction ahead of Mitrovic, and hit the base of the post.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) boosted Fulham's promotion hopes as he doubled their lead

Cardiff may have been in a lowly league position but they played their full part as frustration crept around Craven Cottage.

Marlon Pack's dipping volley wasn't too far off target after Tim Ream clearing header from a Will Vaulks long throw fell nicely.

Straight down the other end and Reed tried his luck from 30 yard range, the shot pushed aside by Alex Smithies.

Not long before half-time, Wilson skipped past two challenges before being taken out by Pack right on the edge of the area. Five in white shirts deliberated over it before Kebano curled it tamely into the wall.

Mitrovic battles for the ball with Cardiff City's Will Vaulks and Mark McGuinness (right)

The second half started with cheers as Cairney came on for his first appearance in 10 months after a serious knee injury.

As the rain poured down, De Cordova-Reid saw a shot flicked over by the boot of Mark McGuinness within seconds of the restart.

Mitrovic finally got a sniff of goal on 54 minutes but couldn't get enough power on his header to trouble Smithies.

But Fulham were ramping up the pressure and De Cordova-Reid's shot skidding off the wet surface and almost catching out Cardiff's keeper.

Cairney's wonderful goal brought the Cottage alive and Fulham continued to push in an effort to kill off the contest.

Cairney celebrates marking his return with a goal as Craven Cottage came alive

They duly doubled their lead on 62 minutes through Mitrovic's assured finish into the bottom corner after Wilson won back possession and De Cordova-Reid picked him out in the box.

That's nine goals in seven Fulham outings and 13 for the season for the big Serbian striker who just loves the Championship.

Cardiff didn't lose heart and it required an outstanding fingertip save by Marek Rodak late on to turn Moore's shot over.


'Legend', 'Pure class' – These Fulham fans are delighted with 30-y/o after role in Cardiff City win

Fulham recorded a comfortable 2-0 win against Cardiff City this evening with Tom Cairney getting a goal on his return to action.

The classy midfielder had not featured for the Cottagers since December 2020 because of knee issues, and there was great excitement when he was named on the bench against QPR over the weekend.

With the game goalless against the Bluebirds, boss Marco Silva turned to Cairney at half-time as he replaced Harrison Reed and it was an inspired decision.

The 30-year-old took just over ten minutes to show his quality as he gave the Londoners the lead with a brilliant left-footed finish from just inside the box.

As you would expect, it was a goal that went down very well with the support, as they were delighted to see Cairney back and making a positive impact on the team.

Here we look at some of the reaction to his fine goal from some of the fans on Twitter...


Cariney deserved triumphant return, says Silva

Fulham boss Marco Silva said Tom Cairney's goalscoring return is a reward for the hard work the midfielder has put in during 10 months on the sidelines.

Cairney opened the scoring in a 2-0 win over Cardiff at Craven Cottage after coming on at half-time for Harrison Reed, who was forced off with a calf injury, with the win helping Fulham move to second spot in the table.

"We can take many positives from the game. We scored two good goals, we kept being patient and kept playing the same way," Silva said.

"The first goal was important for us as the game was more open and there was space for us to explore.

"It was a clean sheet too, which is important as well, and it was important for Tom to score.

"He deserves it after all these months out and it has been so tough for him, so good to come back with a goal after working so hard in the gym which has been so hard for him.

"You can imagine how happy he is, these feelings in the moment are great and he helped the team win the game.

"I had to decide on him or Josh Onomah to bring on and brought him on to give more creativity in that position which he did."

Reed, who missed the start of the season with a similar injury, has been a key player in Fulham's improved performances and Silva said hopes he will be fit to face Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

"I am waiting on the feedback of the medical staff about the calf," Silva said.

"I don't think it is serious, but we will have to wait and see what the scans say."


Comeback king Cairney cracks Cardiff's resistance

After ten torturous months on the sidelines with knee trouble, it took just twelve minutes for Fulham favourite Tom Cairney to mark his return in style. The club captain, a talismanic figure in two Championship promotion seasons, crashed home an unstoppable strike off his majestic left foot to end Cardiff's stubborn resistance and lift the Whites back into the automatic promotion positions. The enormity of the moment was encapsulated both by the roar of the Hammersmith End for their hero and Cairney's own emotions – he looked close to tears as he peeled away from his team-mates, covered his face briefly and lifted both arms in a brief moment of reflection.

Plenty had doubted whether Cairney, absent since a 1-1 draw with Newcastle last December, would ever return to the Fulham side. His history of horrendous knee injuries certainly added to the psychological trauma of his latest setback, which allowed the playmaker to complete only a single training session under Marco Silva until the recent international break. The speed of his reintroduction to the first team squad – Cairney was an unused substitute against QPR on Saturday – took many by surprise and there would have been a few hearts in mouths when he replaced Harrison Reed here at half time, especially as Cardiff had demonstrated their physicality in a scrappy and competitive first half.

Deploying Cairney in a deeper role he sometimes occupied under Scott Parker seemed a serious gamble after Reed had felt his calf in the dying stages of the first half, but Cairney – so often Fulham's creative hub over the years – immediately enlivened Fulham's previously ponderous possession. He linked up cleverly with Bobby Decordova-Reid, who crashed a shot against Mark McGuiness, and began the move that saw Aleksandar Mitrovic head Neeskens Kebano's cross into the arms of Alex Smithies.

But Cairney's starring moment just before the half mark. Harry Wilson, a persistent threat against his former club, threatened to weave his way through after a mazy dribble across the penalty area but the Welshman's shot was blocked. It fell to Cairney, who lashed home a rising finish from the edge of the box to score his first Fulham goal in almost a year. It was a fairytale return for one of Fulham's finest modern servants – and Marco Silva will be delighted to have one of the division's most dangerous midfielders fit and firing again.

The goal galvanised Fulham and the hosts quickly made sure of all three points. They were handed a second on a plate six minutes later when a woeful pass out from the back by Joel Bagan allowed former Bluebird Decordova-Reid to pick out Mitrovic, who rolled home a simple finish from close range, leaving Aden Flint trailing in his wake. The Cardiff board had given Mick McCarthy two more games to save his job after the dismal derby defeat at Swansea on Sunday, but it remains to be seen whether the beleaguered boss lasts until Saturday's meeting with Middlesbrough after a seventh straight defeat that leaves them barely above the bottom three.

To Cardiff's great credit, they were competitive to the last, enlivened by the late introduction of substitutes James Collins, Kieran Evans and Mark Harris. The visitors might have made a game of it in the closing stages, pouring forward regularly with Flint firing over at the back post after McGuiness had flicked on Bagan's cross. The outstanding Kieffer Moore forced a fine save from Marek Rodak after his drive had deflected off the diving Tim Ream, with the Slovak international at full stretch to tip the Welsh striker's snapshot over the bar.

Fulham had began on the front foot after their derby demolition of QPR with Decordova-Reid almost scoring against his former employers inside two minutes when he stooped to head Wilson's cross inches wide after a well-worked short corner. Reed rattled a drive wide from outside the box a minute later before Moore, an imposing presence in the Cardiff forward line, darted away from Ream to reach a raking ball from the impressive Rubin Colwill and thumped a venomous drive off angle of post and bar with Rodak motionless.

The home side enjoyed nearly two-thirds of the ball in a first half they dominated with Wilson regularly breaking into dangerous pockets of space behind the Cardiff midfield. He produced an impudent backheel after latching onto a lovely through ball from Jean Michael Seri and Kebano rattled the far post with a rasping drive from the edge of the box. The visitors offered an immediate riposte with Marlon Pack taking aim after being afforded too much space outside the area – but the former Bristol City midfielder's shot didn't dip quite enough to beat Rodak.

Despite the stalemate, the engaging encounter was developing into an end-to-end contest. Reid brought a sprawling save out of Smithies from distance after rampaging forward from the halfway line and ignoring white shirts out on the flank. Cardiff came just as close before the break when Colwill crept onto a clever Moore knock down and drifted inside Denis Odoi before curling a shot a yard wide of Rodak's far post.

Ultimately, two moments of quality from Fulham's star players made the difference. This might not have been a vintage home display, but it is the kind of result the Whites will need to replicate regularly if they are to mount a serious promotion push. They leapfrogged West Brom, who were beaten by Swansea tonight, on goal difference but remain five points behind Parker's unbeaten Bournemouth. There were encouraging cameos from young strikers Rodrigo Muniz and Jay Stansfield, who will both lay claim as understudies to leading man Mitrovic, whose all-around play was again as importance as his thirteenth goal of the campaign that put the game beyond the struggling visitors.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Odoi, Robinson, Adarabioyo, Ream; Seri, Reed (Cairney 45); Kebano, Wilson (Stansfield 90), Decordova-Reid; Mitrovic (Muniz 89). Subs (not used): Gazzaniga, Tete, Mawson, Onomah.

GOALS: Cairney (57), Mitrovic (63).

CARDIFF CITY (4-2-3-1): Smithies; Ng, Bagan, McGuiness, Flint; Vaulks, Pack; Giles (Harris 73), Bowen (Collins 66), Colwill (Evans 73); Moore. Subs (not used): Phillips, Morrison, Brown, Patten.

BOOKED: Pack, Bagan, Ng.

REFEREE: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).



Cairney deserved fairytale return, says Silva

Tom Cairney deserved to mark his return to first team action with a goal after all his hard work to recover from a serious knee injury, according to Fulham boss Marco Silva.

The club captain took just twelve minutes to break the deadlock at Craven Cottage this afternoon after he came on as a half-time substitute having been sidelined for ten months with persistent knee problems. The classy playmaker volleyed home majestically after Harry Wilson's shot had been blocked to shatter Cardiff's brave resistance – and Fulham moved into the Championship's top two after Aleksandar Mitrovic added a second six minutes later.

Silva was full of praise for his returning hero after the final whistle.

"We can take many positives from the game. We scored two good goals, we kept being patient and kept playing the same way. The first goal was important for us as the game was more open and there was space for us to explore. It was a clean sheet too, which is important as well, and it was important for Tom to score.

"He deserves it after all these months out and it has been so tough for him, so good to come back with a goal after working so hard in the gym which has been so hard for him. You can imagine how happy he is, these feelings in the moment are great and he helped the team win the game. I had to decide on him or Josh Onomah to bring on and brought him on to give more creativity in that position which he did."

Silva is confident that Harrison Reed will be fit to face Nottingham Forest on Saturday, despite being withdrawn as a precaution at half time after feeling tightness in his calf.

"I am waiting on the feedback of the medical staff about the calf. I don't think it is serious, but we will have to wait and see what the scans say."


Wilson happy with professional performance

Harry Wilson was delighted with the professional way Fulham broke down a stubborn Cardiff side as they moved into the automatic promotion places following a 2-0 win tonight.

The Welsh winger, who spent last season on loan at the Bluebirds, had a hand in both of the goals as Fulham had to wait until well after half time to take the lead. His shot was deflected into the path of Tom Cairney, who crashed home from the edge of the box on his return from ten months out injured, and Wilson won the ball high up the pitch to start the move that saw Aleksandar Mitrovic double lead.

Wilson told FFCTV after the final whistle that he knew it was likely to be a tough assignment against Mick McCarthy's men and felt Fulham more than merited the three points:

"Going into the game, we knew it was going to be a tough game. We know that they're not in the best run of form at the minute, but that could have changed for them tonight so we were desperate to make sure we went out there and got the win to follow up the win we got at the weekend. First half was tough. We created chances, but I thought they played well. Second half, it was a great strike from TC and then that set us on the way and we could have had quite a few more.

"There was a bit of water on the pitch but we said at half time we just need to keep moving the ball, keep them working and the chances will appear. I think once we got the first that settled us down and we got the second and, as I said, we probably could have got a few more. At the other end, Marek makes a good save at 2-0 and if they score then it would have been a nervy last ten minutes or so.

The winger admitted he was a little disappointed with the fact that his assists have dropped off a bit in recent games but was pleased with his contribution to a crucial win.

"I think I am. The last few weeks I've been a bit disappointed that my numbers have dropped a bit for goals and assists but as long as the team are winning and I can help – like you say, winning the ball back high for Mitrovic's goal. I think my shot was deflected for Tom's goal as well. I'd like to think I played my part in both of the goals."

He had plenty of praise for Cairney's determination and quality after such a dispiriting spell on the sidelines.

"I've seen in my short time at the club all the hard work he's been putting in off the pitch that of course the fans don't see. When we're at training, he's in the gym working hard. He's joined back in the last few weeks upping his fitness. He's probably not at fittest tonight but when he came in, it was like he'd never been away. He was keeping the ball, getting forward and when he got his chance he didn't think twice about it and to see it fly in the back of net was a great moment. You can see the technique he's got, we know he's got that quality – and for him to do it so quickly in his comeback was brilliant."


Annual General Meeting 2021

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