0 users online

Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald planning to stay in the Premiership

last updated Saturday 06th October 2018, 4:30 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald
Fulham midfielder
Kevin McDonald
Kevin McDonald
His Wiki page
Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald is determined that Fulham do not become a one season Premier League wonder.

As we chat at their training ground Motspur Park, sat in the wooden pavilion of what used to be Kingston upon Thames’s borough sports ground, the Scotland midfielder exudes an easy-going chirpiness.

But there is an unmistakable inner steel.

Fulham have fought long and hard to return to the Premier League and they are not going to give this moment up easily.

All too clear in McDonald’s mind is the agonising play-off failure against Reading two years ago.

And then last season they had a late stumble before the Wembley glory in the play-off final win over Aston Villa at Wembley which hauled the Cottagers back into the big time after a four year absence.

“We don’t want to be a one-season team and go straight back down,” says McDonald, 29. “That’s not what anyone wants, we have worked far too hard as a whole club.

“It is going to pick up, but we have to work hard on the training pitch and cut out the mistakes we are making. We are letting in two to three goals a game. Last year we were solid. But in this League you can’t afford to do that. We have been taught some harsh lessons.

“We should have gone up that first year. But oddly, Reading were the one team that had worked us out. There could have been a hangover but in the end we went up the best way.

“There was that amazing 23 game unbeaten run but then we faltered and people thought we had blown up, the wheels had fallen off. We were great in the semi-final against Derby and then at Wembley it was my best moment as a professional.

“It was a great feeling to get promoted to the Premier League.”

Despite a summer spend of some £100 million and 13 new players walking in, reality hit.

An opening day defeat by Crystal Palace, despite a good performance, rammed home the message.

This was a different level.

The Cottagers, who will face another tough test in a rapidly recovering Arsenal tomorrow, have now let in 16 goals in their first seven games, which have brought just one win.

Such was the level of spending and the quality of the squad already there, that most observers felt that a stylish Fulham, under the astute Slavisa Jokanovic, would not be one of the teams to struggle

That, McDonald says, is dangerous thinking.

“The manager is not going to change the way we play. That is not going to happen,” he says.

“But we have leaked some easy goals and the clinical side of things has been much more evident in the Premier League. These teams take their chances. That has killed us.

“We can’t afford to be scoring three goals to win every game. That’s impossible. People thought that by spending £100m, Fulham were going to have a right go.

“But it’s harder than people think, bringing in quality players and thinking everything is going to work perfectly straight away.”

The one shining star for Fulham this season has been Aleksandar Mitrovic, the tough as teak Serbian striker who made such an impression in the Championship on loan last season.

Acquiring the 24-year-old on a permanent deal was a crucial signing for Jokanovic.

Already, the charismatic Serb has five goals.

But he cannot do it all on his own.

“Mitro is clinical when he gets his chance, but we can’t rely on him every week,” says McDonald. “We need more players to chip, in whether it’s coming from midfield, set pieces, anything.

“There will be times when he has a bad game. He needs help, he can’t do it all on his own. The boss has says he wants more from the rest of us. There has to be.”

McDonald squares his shoulders, “There is too much at stake,” he adds.

Source Tony Banks at The Express
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"