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Aston Villa lose out on promotion to Premier League

02 Juin 2018

"This is our project, this Fulham is my club, my staff", said the Whites boss.

Fulham finished third in the Championship and Villa one spot below, so there's a feeling that the two clubs deserved to meet at Wembley Stadium.

"The beginning of the season we had to find a solution for his knee problem, but when he came back he played like we remember last season. I believe what we're doing here is something special".

Grealish himself had a chance to level the game up just before the hour mark when the creative midfielder waltzed his way through the entire Fulham defence and created a one-on-one opportunity with Marcus Bettinelli, but his shot was inaccurate and the keeper was able to make the save. His defensive work rate has also improved over the previous year, which has no doubt further endeared him to United.

"We must be courageous and strong to build something a little bit different".

The form of Slavisa Jokanovic's team during the second half of the season perhaps made them the strongest in the Championship, and their expansive, attacking football means they have numerous admirers.

However, he insists he isn't sure where his future lies come the end of the season.

He added: "After we missed out on promotion last season, a lot of people wrote us off".

"If we bottled it and tried to play a different way we would have lost the game".

"It's been hard this season financially, so we understand".

Now that Fulham has clinched promotion, he won't need to move to a new club. "We didn't do enough to ask them real questions", Villa manager Steve Bruce said.

Cairney struck with a cool finish in the first half at Wembley to earn Fulham a top-flight place worth an estimated £160 million ($213 million) windfall.

"It certainly wasn't there when I arrived 19 months ago".

The 22-year-old and the Villa fans were incandescent when handball appeals against Odoi were ignored - anger that bubbled over as he launched into an overzealous challenge on Cairney that led to a booking and on-field commotion.

"I think this will keep the team together. Getting sent off sucked".

"We were disappointed with the first half", Bruce said.

"We went on a 23-game unbeaten run".

Liverpool have got their summer off to a flying start by signing Fabinho and Naby Keita, and their fans have been quick to stick the boot into United after the Grealish links emerged. "But today we smashed the second match point".

Aston Villa lose out on promotion to Premier League