Alfie Mawson was delighted to come through his Fulham debut unscathed after spending a long summer on the sidelines following knee surgery – and described a clean sheet in the League Cup victory over Exeter City as ‘a perfect debut‘.
The former England under-21 international defender made his long-awaited Fulham debut alongside Calum Chambers at the heart of a much-changed back four and lasted far longer than head coach Slavisa Jokanovic had suggested in his pre-match comments. Mawson told FulhamFCTV of his pleasure at finally being able to pull on the Fulham shirt after his summer switch from Swansea City:
I think we dominated. We were a bit slow in the first half with our build-up play, but fair play to Exeter they set up quite well. A clean sheet is the most important thing for me as a debut and to go through with that is perfect.
I was really happy. I think this game was the perfect opportunity for me to get out there and really test the knee since the injury and, thankfully, no problems at all. I felt really strong. To play a bit longer than first anticipated, I’m really happy with that and like I said, the way it went is very encouraging.
Mawson believes that the win over League Two opposition will serve as a good confidence boost heading into Saturday’s tricky trip to the south coast to take on Brighton and Hove Albion.
You’ve got to show respect to whoever you’re playing. They’re here for a reason, they’ve done well in the last round and lower league teams up their game [in this competition]. Fair play to them, but tonight was a really professional job on our behalf and I’m really proud of the lads.
The ball-playing centre back is hopeful of making a strong contribution as he rediscovers his match sharpness and praised Fulham’s fitness staff for ensuring his return to first-team action went so smoothly.
The club have put together a programme for me and I’ve stuck to it. For the last week I’ve been in full training. It was always the aim to get out there as quick as I can. The lads done brilliantly on Sunday and all things are going well at the moment. Getting through tonight is good for confidence, it’s a morale booster for everyone – especially the fans. Saturday is going to be a big task, but I think the lads will have more than enough if we play like we did the other day.