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  • EXCLUSIVE by Alessandro Schiavone at Craven Cottage

Jean-Michael Seri: Fulham will NOT get relegated next season and I hope I can stay at this club

Jean-Michael Seri vowed that Fulham will be good value for money in the Premier League next season and definitely avoid the drop.

The last time the Cottagers steered clear of relegation in England’s top-flight was in the 2012/2013 campaign, when they finished 12th under Dutchman Martin Jol.

But ever since the footballing fates have conspired to torment club, players and the loyal supporters.

They went down the following season, in 2014, and haven’t been able to beat the drop in their next two occasions in 2019 and 2021.

Seri joined the West Londoners from Cote D’Azur giants OGC Nice along with Maxime Le Marchand in the summer 2018.

And he was part of the side that suffered relegation under three different managers in the following troubled campaign.

The Ivorian midfielder was shipped out on loan to Ligue 1 side Girondins Bordeaux when lightning struck twice midway through last season.

However, he’s now adamant that Fulham will still be in the Premier League by the time the 2023/2024 season kicks off.

Talking to Capital Football after his side’s benign 1-0 home defeat against Nottingham Forest, Seri said:

“We won’t go down next year, I believe we can do a lot of things. They have to wait for us, we are coming.

“The first year when I was here it didn’t go well and I was disappointed when I left on loan to Galatasaray.

“But I told them that this year I want to make club and fans proud of me, that’s why I stayed.

Seri had spells in his native Ivory Coast, Portugal, France and Turkey.

But prior to this season he had never played in the second tier.

Out of contract in the summer, Seri hopes that the club triggers the one-year contract extension in his contract because he is enjoying life under manager Marco Silva in the capital.

And when asked if it was hard to come to terms with having to accept a “transitional” season in the Championship, he said: “It wasn’t difficult because I said to myself that I signed for four years.

“And it would have been unacceptable to go like that without making something for our fans.

“I wanted to show that the club did the right thing to bring me here and I couldn’t leave like that [after relegation last year].

“All I wanted was to stay and fight for the [Championship] title.

“And thanks God the way I started, the manager gives me his confidence and I showed him what I can.

“I knew I could help the team get promoted again so what I did I think was brilliant.

“And I hope that I will stay next season to help the team stay at least one year in Premier League.

“I enjoy working with Marco Silva. The way we play, everybody enjoys it and this is a great for the team who want to win something.

“The way that we play, the way that Marco manages the team is nice.

“But it’s been tough because a lot of players are not playing like Josh [Onomah] or Kenny [Tete], Chalobah. There is a lot of players who deserve to play, this team has a lot of players with quality but unfortunately everyone cannot play.

“It was tough for the manager but I hope that we will celebrate the title here on Monday.”

There is the widely-held belief that Aleksandar Mitrovic can’t cut it in the Premier League and that he has a point to prove.

And that, despite netting a staggering 41 goals in the second tier and winning the EFL Championship Player of the Season this year.

But the Serbian superstar isn’t the only one who may have to silence some detractors. Seri too feels that he needs to show to everybody that he has what it takes to successfully make the step up.

He said: “Of course [I have to prove it as well].

“But I think everybody in this team can play in the Premier League.

“This is about the right mindset and the confidence.

“If you have doubts about whether you can play in the Premier League, you will fail for sure.

“But with our manager, the way that we try to play and the plan it showed that we can surprise everybody.

“We have to show because the quality is there.

“The only difference has to be the mentality this time but this time we will show everybody that we can do much better in the Premier League.”

And the 30-year-old is already licking his lips at the thought of the Riverside Stand finally opening for fans.

A packed stadium will give Fulham extra wings to upset the odds and be at least the fourth-worst team next year.

He added: “At the moment it looks empty but I think that when it will be full the energy the fans give us will be different for sure.

“We get excited to get to next year to see how it will be but for sure it will be a fantastic year in Premier League.”


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