RYAN TORMENTS OFF-COLOUR TOON
Teenager nets two against Magpies
SLAVISA Jokanovic refused to play up Fulham’s play-off chances as they sauntered to victory at table-topping Newcastle United.
Ruthless and methodical, the visitors made it five wins from seven in the league as they put their top six hopes in their own hands.
League-leaders Newcastle simply couldn’t handle Fulham as they pressed high and countered at breakneck speed, Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, twice, benefitting. But boss Jokanovic is wary. “We are not in a position to think about being a promoted team but we are going to push hard for the top six,” said Jokanovic, after his side moved to within two points of sixth with a game in hand.
“If you have enough strength for this then we have a 25 per cent chance to be a Premier League team next season.”
Fulham’s performance was nothing short of a tactical masterclass as they out-worked the Magpies with an impressive vibrancy, typified by Sessegnon who ensured a torturous afternoon for Newcastle full-back Vurnon Anita.
“In the past we used him in a bit more of an offensive position,” continued the Cottagers boss when discussing the merits of his 16-year-old winger.
“We expected he could find the space in behind the back four of Newcastle.
“At the end he collected two times and finished with a great level of quality.”
Although Daryl Murphy came off the bench to net a consolation late on, it proved a difficult day for the league leadthe ers and their manager, who was celebrating one year in charge of the North East outfit.
“If we want to stay at the top of the table we have to manage these games better,” said Rafael Benitez who was in no mood to celebrate.
“We do what we have to do. Then if you play against a good team and you cannot create too much at least be sure you are strong enough defensively and then not allow them to create or play in this way. The counterattack was the key in the second half.
“They have pace, ability, good movement and passing. We gave them the chance to play way they like to play because we made too many mistakes.”
Newcastle failed to contain an opponent who were full of intent from the off. But as unpredictable as their attacking was, Fulham’s first goal came from a familiar source; the boot of Cairney.
The prodigious talent found space 25 yards out in the 15th minute and rifled a thunderous drive into the top corner, his second in a week and ninth this season, to give Fulham a deserved lead.
The home side were sporadic in their forward forays and often disjointed, a performance which earned the ire of the majority in St James’ Park.
Those jeers turned to disbelief by the time Fulham had enjoyed a scintillating 13minute spell at the beginning of the second period.
First Sessegnon slotted a 51st-minute shot into the bottom corner after the ball was only half-cleared by Paul Dummett. Then, seven minutes later, he lashed home after being played in by Sone Aluko.
Murphy’s turn and finish in the 76th minute was mere consolation, with Fulham’s Tim Ream putting a penalty comically wide, after Dummett bundled over Sessegnon.
ALL OVER: Ryan Sessegnon celebrates his second and Fulham’s third
STAR MAN RYAN SESSEGNON Fulham