Tim Ream believes he is playing some of the best football of his career – and hopes that can be a good omen ahead of Fulham’s date with destiny at Wembley.
“I’ve played 46 games now [this season], and the performances and form that I’ve been on – not just from the start of the undefeated run, but going back to the beginning of the year. I don’t think there’s anybody that can question the level that I’ve been playing at and question whether it’s the best in my career, because it is without a doubt.”
“It’s funny because I’ve not changed as a player. I’m no different than I was five years ago to now. I’ve probably honed my positioning sense a little bit more, but that’s always been one of my strengths.”
Ream believes that the system and style of play adopted by Slavisa Jokanovic suits his own attributes.
“The system helps – the style that we play – it helps. When you’re in a system and you play a style that we do, that’s already a strong point of my game, naturally you’re going to play better. Everybody knows what we’re doing and we all know where we need to be, and we know where the guy next to us is going to be, where the guy in front of us is…and you’re almost playing on instincts. You know you can put a ball into an area and there is going to be a guy there. It makes the players look very good.
Players would be lying to you if they said they didn’t want to play in the system we play. We like to possess the ball, and we do it in the right areas, but at the same time we do it from back to front and front to back, and we don’t hide that.”
Ream says that belief in Fulham’s ability helped the side come through the tougher parts of the season – highlighting the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland before Christmas as a turning point.
“The Sunderland result when we lost at their place in December was a real eye opener for us. They hadn’t won at home in over a year and we go there and lose 1-0. If I had to point to anything, that was the catalyst for the turnaround because we were so embarrassed and so angry at ourselves because we knew we were a better squad than we were showing. From there, it was kind of just an upward rise from then on. We went and beat Cardiff on Boxing Day and just kept the confidence rolling and were performing very well, and the rest is history.”