Neeskens Kebano is the best example of the importance of keeping the faith. The Congolese winger’s sensational form towards the end of the season powered Fulham through to the play-offs and he made a vital contribution as the Whites beat Brentford to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Kebano scored five goals in five games – doing enough to earn a new two-year contract at Craven Cottage having only started a single game before the coronavirus lockdown. The turnaround was remarkable and a fitting reward for the 28 year-old’s impressive work ethic and unstinting belief in his own ability.
Kebano told the BBC:
Prior to the lockdown, I was just entering games for four or 10 minutes or so but since the restart, I began more games. So obviously with more time on the pitch, you have more chances to score.
Maybe he [Scott Parker] felt that it was my moment, that I deserved it for my effort. I never gave up, I always worked hard and I took the opportunity when I had one. This is how I earned my place.
The winger shared his delight at sealing an instant return to the top flight.
We are so proud of getting a promotion right after going down. Our season was far from perfect but we fought like animals and we got what we deserved. This is why we had crazy celebrations. Fulham is back to the place it belongs. In this club, I have my habits here, my family is happy. This is why I feel great in this club.
He also agreed with the assertion that Fulham’s previous Premier League woes, when they were relegated a year after winning promotion, was partially caused by a summer of splashing the cash, something both Parker and chairman Shahid Khan have pledged to avoid this time around.
I think one of the mistakes was to include too many new players in a team already in place. “I am not a football teacher but it’s definitely the mistake to avoid. Last time, it could have worked but it didn’t.