5 Things we learned from Fulham’s win over Aston Villa
Cairney the hero for Cottagers.
Fulham secured promotion to the Premier League with a 1-0 victory in their Championship play-off final against Aston Villa.
Despite being under pressure throughout the second half, Tom Cairney’s first-half finish proved enough for their often-promising season to end in glory.
Here, Press Association Sport analyses five things learnt from Wembley.
1. Ryan Sessegnon is ready to thrive in the Premier League. He was already expected to attract significant interest from bigger clubs and the 18-year-old further enhanced his growing reputation with the superb pass that created Cairney’s goal on such a high-pressure stage. If Fulham can retain Sessegnon and Cairney, they will have two significant assets as they build for next season.
2. Aston Villa are capable of responding by securing promotion next season. A moment of quality ensured Villa will remain a Championship team for at least the coming 12 months, but in Steve Bruce they have a manager who has overseen numerous promotions, and the core of their starting XI will remain
one of the strongest in the division.
3. John Terry is unlikely to play Premier League football again. The defender only ever appeared likely to return to the English top flight with Villa. Aged 37, even if he remains with them and they secure promotion in 12 months’ time, a further year at the highest level will by then most likely be beyond him.
4. Fulham may have to adapt. The form of Slavisa Jokanovic’s team during the second half of the season perhaps made them the strongest in the Championship, and their expansive, attacking football means they have numerous admirers. Villa regardless created chances that superior teams would have taken, so Fulham could prove at risk by playing that same way in the Premier League.
5. Fulham have struck gold. Promotion to the Premier League is estimated to be worth an additional £160million, spread over three years, which obviously would make a significant difference to either team. If they prove capable of surviving one season, that could even increase to £280million.