English Championship Play-Off Report: Aston Villa v Fulham 26 May 2018

English Championship Play-Off Report: Aston Villa v Fulham 26 May 2018

"I prefer not so much to think about bad things, about problems", Jokanovic, palpably in celebration mode as a beery, bubbly, bouncing Fulham dressing room cavorted a few metres away, said after it was suggested that victory at Wembley against Aston Villa may have brought a sense of vindication.

The Cottagers had to play the final 20 minutes with 10 men following Denis Odoi's red card but they held on.

Villa threw the kitchen sink at Fulham late on and amidst increasing pressure on all fronts, were unable to find the breakthrough, leaving the Cottagers to return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2013/14 season.

The 18-year-old has been in fine form in the Championship this season, scoring 16 and recording eight assists including setting up Cairney's goal against Villa. With the previous promoted clubs all staying up, there is more room for those EPL upsets that make it the best league in the world.

The Villains likely have enough quality at their disposal to compete strongly in the Championship again next season, if they don't win their play-off, Wilson could give them serious depth.

For some of Aston Villa's old stagers it was now or never.

Bruce was also critical of his team's poor first-half performance and of the officiating, adamant Ryan Fredericks should have been sent off for a challenge on Grealish who he felt Fulham targeted.

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"One important improvement is now finished, and now we must show ambition to be a Premier League team". "But football won today", declared match victor Cairney.

"He's shown many times that he is a great lad, great footballer and great worker".

Jack Grealish had a chance to level matters for Steve Bruce's troops six minutes before the break with a volleyed strike from just outside the box, but his shot sailed over the bar as Villa went into the break trailing.

Fulham teenager Ryan Sessegnon, meanwhile, said: "It's been a fantastic season for me and the team".

Villa, meanwhile, were struggling to get going, particularly in the last third and looked prone to conceding another goal.

Fulham prevailed, recording a 1-0 win that means they will be in the Premier League next season.

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