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Tomas Kalas was delighted that Fulham recorded an ‘important’ win over fellow promotion chasers Barnsley on his return to the team yesterday.

The Czech international’s importance to Slavisa Jokanovic’s remodelled defence can’t be overstated and Fulham have looked a little vulnerable in his absence. The on-loan Chelsea defender’s commanding presence effectively nullified lone striker Tom Bradshaw and dealt with the Tykes’ increased ambition once Paul Heckingbottom threw on three second half substitutes in an attempt to change the game. Kalas insisted that what looked like a routine victory was far from comfortable:

The way we play it always going to look like an easy game. But it’s never an easy game, we are trying to keep the ball. But when the opposition is defending well and trying to keep their shape and start counter attacks then we have to be patient and concentrate for the whole game because as you can see if they grabbed a goal it could have been 2-1 and we would have had a nervous ending. So it was a very important win for us.

The first goal is always key. But scoring just before we go into the changing rooms for halftime is always the best time. If it going to come that late it is always important. We had some chances and we didn’t score so that was a shame that we didn’t score a little earlier. Possibly it would have been calmer then but obviously if every game we score like that I wouldn’t complain.

Kalas was full of praise for Scott Malone’s stunning second goal that broke Barnlsey’s dogged resilience.

Scott then scored a brilliant goal. To score a goal like that from that angle on the volley it is difficult to say anything that was bad about it.

The returning centre back was reunited with American international Tim Ream at the heart of the Fulham defence and the pair have struck an impressive partnership having worked hard down at Motspur Park.

It’s not the first time I have played with Tim. We know each other and the way we play. But also we all know each other and how we all play. We have been together for a long time, since the season started and there are no new faces anymore. Hopefully we will continue to keep picking up clean sheets.

Kalas is upbeat about Fulham’s play-off prospects but needs no reminding of the unpredictable nature of the Championship, having successfully navigated Middlesbrough’s promotion challenge whilst on loan at the Riverside last term.

The way we are playing we should be in the play-offs but as you can see in this League everyone can beat everyone. Like today Preston beat Brighton and it seemed Brighton would hardly lose any games. Anything can happen so we have to always be focused on every opponent and we want to be in the play-offs this is how it has to be.

Fulham’s next fixture is the west London derby against Queen’s Park Rangers at Loftus Road next Saturday – and Kalas knows just how important that fixture is to the fans, especially after the crazy defeat at Craven Cottage earlier in the season.

We will take it like every other game and be focused. It won’t be an easy game. It is important for the fans to have the bragging rights in West London. We beat Brentford, and hopefully we can beat QPR and get some revenge for the game that happened here.