Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic lavished praise upon matchwinner Tom Cairney after the Scottish midfielder came back to haunt Blackburn Rovers with an injury-time winner at Ewood Park yesterday.
The Serbian head coach hailed Cairney’s composure on the ball and suggested that he could be a Premier League star – although he hopes that the 25 year-old be spearheading Fulham’s campaign in the top flight next year. Cairney, who had largely had a quiet afternoon on his second return to Blackburn since leaving for Fulham in a deal believed to be worth around £3.5m last summer, curled in a majestic stoppage-time winner to lift the Whites up to second in the Championship table.
These are some very strong words but Tom Cairney can be a Premier League player. He’s quality. He’s clinical.
He’s a player who doesn’t lose passes. He normally completes around 90%. We know him, he played for this club [Blackburn Rovers], but I’m not sure what style he played. But he’s a very important part of our squad and I like this player.
For his part, Cairney appears to be relishing the responsibility of both a more advanced position in the midfield – playing as part of three attacking midfielders behind a loan striker – and a more senior role in the squad. Having captained the side during pre-season, he took the armband once Scott Parker departed in the closing stages yesterday and could be seen exhorting his team-mates for one final effort as the match entered injury-time.