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Cairney focused on automatic promotion

last updated Friday 09th March 2018, 3:27 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney
Fulham midfielder
Tom Cairney
Tom Cairney
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Fulham captain Tom Cairney believes his side are already “playing Premier League football in the Championship”, as they continue their fight for promotion.

With just 10 games to go, the club are sitting five points behind Cardiff City and their desired finish of an automatic promotion place.

Having won 11 of their previous 14 games, and remaining unbeaten since mid-December Fulham are in the best form of the division, and Cairney thinks the quality of their football lives up to the stats.

“We know on our day we can beat anyone,” the 27-year-old said. “I think every game at the minute we’re getting like eight or nine very good performers on the pitch out of the starting 11.”

“I’ve said it from last season, I think we play Premier League football in the Championship,” he added.

“We play on the grass, and nine times out of 10 we dominate possession and lots of shots at goal. It’s great to play in and I’m sure it’s great to watch.”

One player crucial to their more recent performances has been Newcastle loanee Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has netted five goals in his last four consecutive games.

After scoring twice against Sheffield United, opposing manager Chris Wilder said Mitrovic “shouldn’t be playing in the division”, lauding both the striker and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic.

Cairney was of a similar belief that his Serbian teammate has had a huge impact on their team since his January arrival.

“He’s been absolutely immense ever since he’s walked through the door. He looks hungry, he’s getting fitter and fitter every week, and he’s really causing centre-halves serious problems. On top of that he’s scoring goals.

“He’s a bit of an animal at the minute and if we’re going to do anything this season, we need him.”

Where second place might have been seen as too far away before – at Christmas they were 15 points away from Cardiff – thanks to a culmination of shrewd mid-season business and the continuing rise of starlet Ryan Sessegnon, a confidence has brewed at the club that makes that spot seem far more attainable now.

“It’s definitely reachable,” said Cairney. “There’s 10 games left now, and it’s still all to play for.

“There’s always twists and turns in the Championship but if we’re going to do anything we’ve got to maintain our form so we can’t take our foot off the pedal – and I don’t think the manager will let us either.”

Source Matt Murphy at The Independent
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