Ream: We are better than the promotion side we have more skill and experience

EXCLUSIVE BY YANN TEAR
yann@slpmedia.co.uk­

Fulham may not quite be living up to the pre-season hype just yet, but Tim Ream reckons this is a better vintage than the team that got promoted two years ago.

The Whites sit just outside the top six, with last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough making it five draws and three defeats in a slightly underwhelming spell of 11 games.

But if they are not tearing up the Championship in their quest to make a quick return to the Premier League, the USA defender is seeing only good signs.

“It’s hard to draw definite comparisons with the last promotion season but I feel the team now is a much better one in terms of skill and experience, especially this early in the season,” Ream told the London Weekly News.

Action from Fulham’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough. Pictures: Sean Gosling

“The year we won promotion, we didn’t really put anything together until after Christmas. This year we are much more solid from the start.

“People are going to compare the two squads but there’s definitely a togetherness and camaraderie now.

“We showed great team spirit at Middlesbrough. In the first 15 minutes we felt we had control of the game and that we could possibly go on to take three points. Obviously it wasn’t meant to be after having a man sent off after 17 minutes [keeper Marek Rodak] but we dug in and showed good determination, fight and unity.

“Last year, if we had gone down to 10 men, we would probably have given up goals and chances. We are definitely showing that we are finally turning that page and forgetting last season.

“There is a little bit of a hangover from last season, it’s only natural, I think. You wonder what could have been, but I think the staff have done a good job of steering us away from those thoughts and focused us on the task at hand – that’s the number one goal.”

The 32-year-old is hugely popular among the Hammersmith End faithful.

Action from Fulham’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough. Pictures: Sean Gosling

For a while now they have roared an appreciative ‘Reeeeeam’ after his clearances and timely interceptions.

The man himself, very much a part of the fixtures and fittings four and a bit years on from a move from Bolton, is grateful but says his professional approach prevents him from truly savouring the adulation.

The man himself, very much a part of the fixtures and fittings four and a bit years on from a move from Bolton, is grateful but says his professional approach prevents him from truly savouring the adulation.

“Honestly, I don’t think about it too much,” he said. “During a game, I’m so focused on trying to do well and make the right play, the right decisions, so I don’t hear them – or I do but only if we are well ahead and more relaxed.

“As the game is going on, I’m focused on what I have to do.

“Maybe it was a long time coming . I’m in my fifth season now but my first year was rough at the club so to have that relationship now, where they are right behind me, is fantastic.

“Five years is a long time to be at one club these days but it speaks volumes about the club as a whole – wanting to keep guys around together for a few years who have a lot of experience. It’s a perfect fit for me.

Action from Fulham’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough. Pictures: Sean Gosling

“My current deal runs until 2021 and I haven’t discussed beyond that. It was extended not so long ago.

If it comes along that we want to sit down and extend further then we will and there’s every chance as long as I stay healthy and I stay in the club’s plans. I can bring that experience and be a positive influence. It’s possible I could end my career here.”

Fulham take on Hull City at Craven Cottage on Saturday, and three of the next four fixtures are at home. It is a good opportunity to close in on the top six.

“We don’t want to fall too far behind the top two and definitely don’t want to fall behind the top six,” Ream said. “Right now, we all feel we haven’t played our optimal best at all, but we’ve played fairly well. Of course we’d love to be in the top two, but we are fairly comfortable with where we are.

“We have three out of four at home now but we only look at the next game and stay in the moment. The league is tough and anyone on any given day can cause problems for teams at the top. You can’t get ahead of yourself.”

Fulham take on Hull City at Craven Cottage this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Tickets are on general sale with junior tickets just £1.

To buy your seats, please call: 0203 871 0810 (opt. 1) or visit the Fulham ticket office in Stevenage Road.

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