Tom Cairney insists Fulham will stay true to their principles and attack Manchester City in the FA Cup this afternoon.

The Fulham captain admits the travelling support’s chant of ‘Manchester City, we’re coming for you’ made him smile during the 7-0 thrashing of Reading and recognises the quality of Pep Guardiola’s wonderful side, but dismissed the idea of putting ten men behind the ball at the Etihad Stadium.

Cairney told the Metro: “They’re an incredible side but we are scoring goals and creating chances and confidence is flowing through the whole team. But just look at players like Oleksandr Zinchenko — a left-back who plays like a No.10 and who has a different role with his country entirely. You look forward to a game like this but it’s hard. You have possession all season and you go to City and they have the ball. But you want to test yourself against the best.”

“We get quite a lot of bodies forward and you can say we take risks but no risk, no reward. We could see quite early on Marco’s style was quite attacking. Now when we go 2-0 up he wants us to go on and score more goals, where previous managers have perhaps been happy to see games out from that point.”

Cairney also gave revealing reflections on his ten months on the sidelines with a knee problem that will likely have to manage for the remainder of his career.

“It was a bad, bad time last year. I felt I started the season quite well and you then hope for a run in the Premier League. But I got injured and couldn’t get back fit. On top of that I was watching the team lose every week, we were in lockdown and it was a bad, bad few months.

You can’t affect anything and you feel useless. You’re not going in for training — just treatment. Then we get relegated from the league we worked so hard to get back into. It was a crap, crap time.”

The Scottish playmaker admits he is still working his way back to peak physical condition, but the signs have been promising as he slotted back into a midfield role in Marco Silva’s stylish side.

“I won’t say I’m 100 per cent… I don’t know if any footballer is ever 100 per cent. I’ll be able to say that when I am totally pain free but there are still times in games or training when I feel something. It’s not a big, big injury and I never had an operation. I said to our physio I’d rather break my leg, snap it in two and watch it heal week by week. No one knows about healing tendons, even now.”

The 31 year-old speaks with genuine affection about his time at Craven Cottage – emphasising that Fulham certainly feels like the perfect fit.

“The eight seasons have been rapid. That’s a long time in football and I’m now a 31-year-old and training with 18 and 19-year-olds. But it has felt like home. The club just really suits me — it’s a weird bond.

It has been up and down every season, we’ve been fighting at the top or the bottom and have never had a mid-table season in all the time I’ve been here. It’s been a rollercoaster, with some amazing moments. Slavisa Jokanovic and Marco are probably the most similar in style, Claudio Ranieri the most defensive. The two years under Slavisa were great.’