Saturday Aug 08, 2020. 13:00
DR Congo international Neeskens Kebano says Fulham “is back to the place it belongs” after winning promotion to the Premier League earlier this week.
The French-born attacker was a surprise hero of the Cottagers’ promotion push: he scored five times in Fulham’s final five Championship matches, including goals both home and away against Cardiff City in the semifinals of the playoffs.
He then played 81 minutes of the playoff final against Brentford this past midweek, a match Fulham won 2-1 to claim a place in next season’s Premier League.
All this came at the conclusion of a season in which Kebano was mostly a peripheral figure, starting just one match prior to the lockdown and featuring mostly as a late substitute.
The DRC player never allowed his lack of playing time to get him down, and he was duly given his chance to shine by Fulham manager Scott Parker.
“Prior to the lockdown, I was just entering games for four or 10 minutes or so but since the restart, I began more games,” the 28-year-old told BBC Sport Africa.
“So obviously with more time on the pitch, you have more chances to score.”
Kebano added, “Maybe he [Parker] felt that it was my moment, that I deserved it for my effort.
“I never gave up, I always worked hard and I took the opportunity when I had one. This is how I earned my place.”
Fulham have earned a direct return to the English top flight following their relegation at the end of the 2018-19 season, and Kebano feels the Premier League is the natural environment for the West London club.
“We are so proud of getting a promotion right after going down,” he added.
“Our season was far from perfect but we fought like animals and we got what we deserved.
“This is why we had crazy celebrations. Fulham is back to the place it belongs.”