Fulham v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship

Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald was delighted with a ‘perfect’ debut as his new side saw off the challenge of Championship promotion favourites Newcastle United on the new season’s opening night.

The experienced Scottish midfielder, who finally signed for Fulham from Wolves in a £1.25m deal last month after a year of being on the club’s radar, delivered an accomplished performance at the base of the Whites’ midfield securing a precious clean sheet.

McDonald told Fulham’s official website:

We worked really hard and put in a really solid performance. It was always going to be a tough game, Newcastle came out flying and it was hard to deal with. We stood our ground, got that goal – a great finish from Smudge [Matt Smith] – and, all in all, a great result.

The boys are over the moon in the dressing room now. The amount of work we stuck in for that ninety minutes, we’re going to have to do that week in, week out if we want to get promoted. It’s the first game, we’re absolutely thrilled with the win, but the hard work starts again tomorrow.

For us to get a clean sheet against a Newcastle side like that is absolutely brilliant – and Butts [David Button] made a great save. We really felt we could keep them at bay, we felt we were in control for most of it, obviously the last fifteen or twenty minutes they were going to push, but we can’t take credit away from ourselves – a really good team performance, we battled from first to last minute.

McDonald freely admitted to feeling uncharacteristically nervous prior to kick off as he prepared to make his first competitive start, but was very pleased with how his debut went, despite a few jitters following Rafa Benitez’s second half tactical switch.

The first sixty minutes I thought I had done well and they changed formation a little bit, bringing Anita inside, and that made it a little bit harder for me and Tunners [Ryan Tunnicliffe] and me and Scotty [Parker]. In that last half an hour, we were a little erratic on the ball to say the last, but I couldn’t be happier with my debut. Mostly importantly, we got the win.