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Alfie Mawson admitted his return to the Fulham side was somewhat ‘bittersweet’ after Tim Ream was forced off with a back injury in the first half against Hull City yesterday – but the centre back was delighted to help Fulham keep a clean sheet in his first performance of the season.

The former Swansea defender, who has battled back to full fitness after an injury-plagued loan spell at Bristol City last year, has had to be patient and wait for his opportunity under Marco Silva but delivered a composed display when the hosts had to rejig their back four midway through the first half after losing Ream and Tete to injury at Craven Cottage.

Mawson told FFCTV after the final whistle:

“It was a bit of a bittersweet one, to be honest. Obviously, I don’t want to see anyone in my team get injured but everyone’s got to be ready. I feel like I am in a good position physically and mentally and, if I’m being honest, I’ve been enjoying watching the boys. I said to them before the game, they’ve been a joy to watch, playing football, doing the dirty side and the quality we’ve got going forward it tells itself. Another three points – and the first three points at home is really big for us.”

The ball-playing defender says that the confidence is growing within the squad after Fulham’s unbeaten start and highlighted the influence of Fulham’s young stars Tyrese Francois and Fabio Carvalho in giving the side more energy.

“You don’t like singling players out – but the confidence in Carvalho, he’s come into the side with no nerves and he’s been fantastic. As you get older, you start to feel the pressure a bit more. The young lads have come into the team – him, Tyrese – they are doing their part and it is showing all over the pitch.”

Mawson, who had been expecting to get his first appearance of the new campaign at Birmingham City in the League Cup on Tuesday night, was very pleased to be part of the club’s first clean sheet.

“We’re always going to get chances to score and get in and around their box, but if we can keep a clean sheet we’ve got a massive chance of winning the game. We come in at 2-0 at half time, we’ve got a great chance of getting the three points. They came back in the second half, put a bit of pressure on us, they got a bit of momentum but they are always going to do that. That’s football and we stood up to the test well.

It’s times like this when you’ve got to come together and be ready. I thought Tuesday night was going to be a big game for me and a lot of the lads on the periphery – we’ve got to be ready. I was devastated that Tim had to be come off injured, hopefully it’s not too serious and he’ll be alright and I’m buzzing to back out there.”