Jean-Michael Seri wants to repay Fulham for the faith they showed in him by leading the Whites back to the Premier League – and he hopes to prove a point to former manager Scott Parker tomorrow night.
Marco Silva’s side face Bournemouth in a clash of the Championship’s top two at Craven Cottage and the Ivorian playmaker is keen to display his talent after Parker denied him the opportunity of a second chance in a Fulham shirt. Seri was frustrated to be left out of Fulham’s 25-man Premier League squad after returning from loan last season, but is making up for lost time under new boss Marco Silva.
The former Nice midfielder told the Sun that it took a while for him to adjust to English football and that he was bitterly disappointed with his performances in his first season in London:
“I felt a lot of expectation when I joined. The Fulham fans had heard about me almost joining Barcelona so thought I would help them stay in the Premier League. Unfortunately things didn’t go as we all wanted. The club spent a lot of money for me and expected better from me. I didn’t give back something.. I must give the club something back for that investment so I’m glad to be doing so now.
When you first come to England, it can be difficult. We can see this with a lot of players who come from different countries because it’s very different here to other leagues. What I learned, reflecting on that season, is that you must have a winning mentality every day, not just on matchdays. If you have a game on Saturday, you can’t start preparing on Thursday. You must be preparing from Monday to the matchday.”
He also detailed his disappointment at being left out of Parker’s Premier League plans when he felt he would be able to contribute to Fulham’s fight to establish themselves in the top flight.
“I had a positive season in Turkey so it was frustrating to not play. I was thinking, ‘Why does the manager not realise that I can help the team?’ because I was in very good form and very confident. I had learned from my past experience in the Premier League. If he gave me one chance, I could’ve helped the team. It was a big frustration and not what I expected when I returned.
“I spoke to Scott Parker before we started the season and that conversation must remain private. But he decided what he had to decide and it was a difficult situation for me.”
Seri is relishing the opportunity to express himself under Silva after swiftly establishing himself as a key part of Fulham’s midfield.
“When the gaffer arrived, he said, ‘I want you to help us go up together into the Premier League.’ I knew Marco from when he was in Portugal and I thought, ‘Why not?’ I wanted to stay here and my family like London too. The Championship is actually better than a lot of the leagues in Europe.
“I’m here for the whole season. I want to celebrate when we get promoted. I want to enjoy this moment with the club. Fulham deserves it because they’ve spent a lot of money on me. They deserve to be in the Premier League for many years and I believe Marco is building something good. And I want to pay the club back.”