Tom Cairney still believes Fulham can gain automatic promotion from the Championship – but admits that overhauling Cardiff City to claim second spot is now ‘a big ask’.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side won 2-0 at Norwich City on Good Friday to extend their extraordinary unbeaten league run to seventeen games, but the Bluebirds still sit seven points clear with a game in hand following the postponement of their recent fixture at Derby County. Cairney insists that, after last season’s sensational late run to nick a play-off spot, the Whites won’t rule themselves out of contention – and their confidence is high given that excellent recent form.
The Fulham skipper told GetWestLondon’s Ryan O’Donovan:
We aren’t playing for the play-offs, we’re playing to catch the top two, that’s in our mentality and that’s what will drive performances on. All we can do is put on the pressure, we’re 17 unbeaten at the moment, club record, all we can do is keep winning but if we catch them it will be one hell of a story.
It’s a big ask, I’m a realist, if they win three more games it’s over more or less, but I think they’ve got a tough run-in, so if they lose one of those it can affect you mentally.
The Scottish midfielder was delighted to grab another goal at a ground that is quickly becoming one of his favourites. His second half strike that double Fulham’s lead was fourth goal in as many trips to Norwich.
I’ve scored in my last four visits to Carrow Road in a row, one for Hull, one for Blackburn and two for Fulham. I wish it was my home ground, I’ve scored two in each goal here. Hopefully Norwich go on a run! But I like playing here, it’s an old school stadium.
He revealed that he feels the goalscoring midfielder might now be a dying breed with the modern game becoming so much more technical, but Jokanovic was indebted to his skipper and Stefan Johansen for popping up with crucial goals to break the deadlock in East Anglia – something which Cairney admits he needs to keep working on.
I think midfield players who score are a bit of a dying art at the moment, I really do, I can finish and I work on it in training and Johansen can as well. I think that’s why we were so successful last season, we were both top goal scorers in the team so it’s rare for a midfielder but the way we play suits us. We have a license to get forward and that suits us.