Chris Coleman has been delighted with his first full season in charge at Fulham – having made a mockery of the pre-season relegation predictions by guiding the Whites to ninth place in the top flight.

The Welsh manager, the youngest boss of a Premier League club, told the League Managers’ Association:

“We’ve come on in leaps and bounds this season as a team. Back at the start we were very much fancied to be relegated and I was favourite for the sack. Across the board, I think that we’ve surprised a lot of people.

We’ve always been accused of playing too much pretty football. It’s nice to watch but we don’t get anywhere with it. This season we’ve been a bit more rugged and we can dig a result out now. Our heads don’t drop if it’s not going for us, we dig in as a team so on that side of things I think we’ve improved a lot this season.

That’s why our away from has been a bit better than the previous few seasons. We’re prepared to roll our sleeves up as a team. We’re not always pretty, especially away from home where we get people behind the ball, work hard, try to hit teams on the counter but it’s been fairly successful for us.

Certainly in the second half of the season we struggled to put back-to-back results together. We had a dodgy patch away from home. We went to Old Trafford and had a great victory, then we didn’t win away in the League up until we played Leicester at the beginning of April. That was a little bit disappointing because stared off really well away from home. We’ve surprised a lot of people and it’s been a big effort from everybody, not just the players.”