Sports

Fulham defeat Aston Villa in Championship play-off final to reach Premier League

Fulham defeat Aston Villa in Championship play-off final to reach Premier League

"We went into the second half and said it would be tough as Villa would throw the whole kitchen sink at us", said the 26-year-old.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic recognised that his team will have to invest in their side to ensure survival after winning promotion.

Next season will mark Aston Villa's third in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League two years ago.

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. Jack Grealish, the best player on the pitch against Fulham despite seeing the artist-artisan balance tilted firmly against his side, asked Villa's press officer to shield him from the media as he walked through the mixed zone and it would be a leap of faith to predict him talking as their player again. But let's not forget we are Aston Villa, a proud club, a big club.

John Terry (below) has been the king pin of the Villa defence over the course of this season, but he veteran centre-back was exposed as the highly-rated Ryan Sessegnon picked out a ideal pass to send Cairney in on goal after 23 minutes.

At the final whistle, Villa manager Steve Bruce, who suffered the loss of both parents this calendar year, folded his arms, shook hands and stayed rooted in his technical area, a man alone with his thoughts, until Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli came over to shake his hand.

In the second-half, moments after nearly bringing Villa level with a moment of individual magic, it appeared as though he let his frustrations get the better of him.

"He's shown many times that he is a great lad, great footballer and great worker. But now, I do believe they have enjoyed seeing what we have got at the moment". "To show ambition, we're going to need to show the money too". "We will see what happens".

That figure rises to £280m if the winners survive just one season in the Premier League, according to BBC Sport.

And Grealish himself was fortunate not to see red, letting his frustration get the better of him, sliding in recklessly on Cairney with referee Anthony Taylor only brandishing a yellow card.


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