Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Fulham facing decisions over crucial loanees ahead of Premier League return

Fulham facing decisions over crucial loanees ahead of Premier League return

There is no denying that a team of this quality deserved to be promoted, although Aston Villa and Steve Bruce will feel their second-half showing merited more.

We saw in this past Premier League season that keeping a Championship core can bring you a successful season.

The consistently entertaining football they have played since the Serbian's appointment in 2015 has attracted many admirers and was again on display at Wembley, particularly when Ryan Sessegnon created Tom Cairney's first-half goal.

But although Fulham had an average age of three years younger than Villa, there was no sign of stage-fright from Jokanovic's team.

Tom Cairney says he can not wait to lead Fulham into the Premier League following a play-off final win and the captain believes the club will keep the team together.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon looks the part (Barrington Coombs/EMPICS).

Saturday may be the day of the Champions League final but the financial implications of the second-tier showpiece - worth at least £160 million of additional revenue to the victor - dwarfs the Kiev showpiece.

Villa missed a flawless opportunity to go level when a cross by Albert Adomah picked out Jack Grealish, who powered his effort over the bar on 51 minutes.

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Fulham finished third in the regular season, making it the highest placed of the four teams that entered the playoffs.

"I've been playing the whole season not fully fit".

Villa, captained by former Chelsea defender John Terry and seeking to get back in the top flight after a two-year absence, dominated the second half - and Fulham's players bid to defend their lead was made even harder when defender Denis Odoi was sent off in the 70th minute for a second yellow card.

Villa threw the kitchen sink at Fulham late on and amidst increasing pressure on all fronts, were unable to find the breakthrough, leaving the Cottagers to return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2013/14 season. "The player wants to stay and we will see what happens".

"We were disappointed with the first half", Bruce said.

But he added: "We must adapt ourselves". We just needed a break for the goal but we didn't get it.

It was clear from the outset that Villa's No 10 was the one that Fulham's players were most anxious about as he was on the receiving end of some harsh treatment from those in white shirts.

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