Fulham will be in the draw for the Europa League group stages after a 3-1 aggregate victory over FC Dnipro.
The Ukranian side took the spoils on the night, 1-0, but Martin Jol's side did the hard work at Craven Cottage seven days earlier and will sit in pot two when the balls are pulled out in Monaco later.
After vowing to attack ahead of the match, Jol's side produced an impressive defensive display to secure their passage through, and it was a case of 'mission accomplished' for the former Ajax chief.
“We wanted to achieve the Group Stages and that’s what we did. You have to keep the ball and show everybody that you come here for the result. I know that if you’re three-nil up and score one goal it’s over but we couldn’t do that so we had to contain them and fight for the result," said Jol post-match.
“We couldn’t do a lot up-front today, we didn’t have a lot of choices on the bench. Normally you could give Duffer a rest, take Dempsey off early but Riise was injured so that didn’t help. But overall, for now, I think it was a result we wanted.”
“Of course it was not easy for Andy Johnson up front – it was probably the first time he and Dembele played together. But I was happy with the midfield and the back four. It wasn’t easy but in the end the win was deserved.”
Steve Sidwell echoed the sentiments of his manager, and paid tribute to the efforts of Dnipro after a valiant effort from the hosts.
However, a solid team effort was more than enough for the Cottagers, who kept their concentration throughout on a potentially difficult evening, and focus now switches to the clash with Newcastle over the weekend.
“We did the job in the first game. You’ve got to credit their performance tonight, it was a great performance and we knew that we could expect a tough game. The main thing is that the result got us through and that’s all that matters," Sidwell told the Fulham website.
“Our game plan was to sit back but keep a good shape and keep compact. They had to come at us and we were going to catch them on the break. We said before the game, whether they scored first or we did, it’s about concentration for the whole game – we did that from the ‘keeper to the front men.
“I’ll be interested to see who we’ll be up against next and where we’ll be travelling to – I think once we see that, then it will really start to sink in. Now we’ve got to concentrate on the Newcastle game, which is vital.”
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