Scott Parker asked his players to rise to the occasion ahead of the Play-Off Semi-Final first leg, and they did just that, with two stunning solo goals by Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kebano, giving Fulham a two-goal advantage in their quest to reach another Sky bet Championship Play-Off Final.
With no side having failed to reach the Championship Play-Off Final after winning the Semi-Final first leg by two goals or more, Parker’s side will be firm favourites to reach next week’s Final at Wembley Stadium and with Fulham now unbeaten in their last eight games, 23-year-old Onomah admits morale is high in the camp.
“I think we started quite slowly in the first half,” he admitted, after the first leg at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“But in the second half we came out sharp and were determined to score. After the first few minutes, I just knew we were going to score and thankfully I got that goal."
And what a goal it was. Some dazzling footwork and a stunning individual effort - described as a 'thing of beauty’ on the night - put Onomah on the scoresheet as he finished the move by calmly passing the ball past Cardiff goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
“I’ve been working on scoring a lot to be honest,” he continued. "I just tried to keep my composure to find the back of the net.
“Credit must go to Cardiff though, they were in the game and put pressure on us, but I think once we scored first it lifted our spirits and we controlled the game from there.”
Since the restart in June, Onomah has been directly involved in five goals in nine games (three goals and two assists), a big turnaround from his previous 23 appearances before the break, where he had just one goal and one assist to his name.
“I think it’s just my mentality to be honest with you,” he said, when asked about his recent form.
"I’ve treated every game like a final and played every game as if it’s my last, and I think I’ve reaped the rewards from that so I can’t wait for the next game and hopefully one more game after that."
Onomah featured in the 2018 Championship Play-Off Final, in which Fulham defeated Aston Villa at Wembley. He was wearing Villa colours that day, but is confident Fulham can reach the National Stadium again to give themselves a chance of Premier League football again next season.
“We’ve got a great bunch of lads in the team. There’s competition for places, everyone’s performing and morale is high at the moment.
“We have to keep going and take our form and performances into Thursday’s game."
The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with updates also available via Twitter (@SkyBetChamp
). Kick-off is at 7:45pm.