Harrison Reed admits that Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League ‘hasn’t sunk in yet’ but the tigerish midfielder is already targeting an immediate return to the top flight.

The former Southampton midfielder has quickly become a favourite of the Fulham faithful after building on an impressive loan spell at Craven Cottage with an excellent first season after signing for the Whites permanently, despite the massive disappointment of relegation. The 26 year-old’s energy and reading of the game was pivotal in helping Scott Parker’s bridge the gap from Championship promotion contenders to becoming competitive in the league above, although he admits the pain of the drop is still very raw.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Athletic, Reed says:

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. For so long, we believed that we could really do it, that we really could stay in the league, and that we deserved to stay in the league. But over the course of 38 games, it’s not down to luck, we fell short. You can look back at key moments and say, ‘We were unlucky here’, ‘We didn’t get the decision here’. But there’s only so much that counts for.”

“We didn’t have the quality in certain moments to kill a game or see it out. It is really painful because for so long, we were so competitive. We were just the one goal away from picking up more points in certain games. Over the course of a season, that’s huge.

Reed remains hungry for success and, whilst careful not to overlook the depth of competition in the Championship, believes that Fulham can realistically consider themselves amongst the leading contenders for promotion next season.

“My initial reaction after this season is to get back there as quick as possible. Listen, the Championship is a very, very competitive league, it takes a lot of quality and a mentality and consistency to be successful but last season and this season will stand us in good stead. I’ve really enjoyed the season in the Premier League. I’ve loved it, I feel like I’ve grown as a player. I can’t wait to get back there. We can do that next season.”