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Fulham vs Burnley. Premier League.

Craven Cottage.

Fulham 0

    Burnley 2

    • A Westwood (35th minute)
    • C Wood (44th minute)

    Fulham 0-2 Burnley: Cottagers relegated to Championship as Clarets guarantee safety

    Free match highlights and report as Ashley Westwood and Chris Wood strikes relegate Fulham to the Championship and guarantee another season of Premier League football for Burnley

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    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Burnley’s win at Fulham in the Premier League

    Fulham's relegation to the Championship was confirmed by an abject 2-0 defeat to Burnley, who guaranteed another season of Premier League football with a clinical victory at Craven Cottage.

    Scott Parker's side needed four wins from their final four games to have any chance of avoiding the drop but were comprehensively beaten as their season-long stay in the top flight ended with three games to spare.

    Fulham's fate was effectively sealed before half-time as Ashley Westwood's opener and Chris Wood's emphatic 50th Burnley goal left the hosts needing to score three unanswered goals - the same they had managed in their previous 11 outings.

    Fortune favoured Fulham after the interval when goalkeeper Alphonse Areola avoided a straight red card for a clear handball outside the area, but the Cottagers were unable to take advantage of the reprieve, with Andre-Frank Anguissa cannoning the underside of the Burnley bar with the hosts' best effort of sparking a comeback.

    Defeat - Fulham's 18th of an arduous campaign - sends them straight back to the Championship at the first attempt, while Burnley climb up to 14th with a victory which sees Sean Dyche deliver a sixth successive season of Premier League football.

    Relegation was concluded with three games to spare for the first time in Premier League history
    Image: Relegation was concluded with three games to spare for the first time in Premier League history

    Player ratings

    Fulham: Areola (5), Tete (5), Andersen (4), Adarabioyo (5), Robinson (5), Lemina (6), Anguissa (6), Cavaleiro (6), Decordova-Reid (5), Lookman (6), Mitrovic (5).

    Subs: Maja (5), Onomah (5), Loftus-Cheek (4).

    Burnley: Pope (7), Lowton (7), Tarkowski (7), Mee (7), Taylor (6), Brownhill (6), Cork (7), Westwood (7), McNeil (6), Vydra (7), Wood (7).

    Subs: Rodriguez (6), Barnes (n/a).

    Man of the Match: Chris Wood

    Fulham survival fails at first attempt

    In what was the first of four defining games to save their season, Fulham fashioned the first opening on 12 minutes, but Ademola Lookman's hesitancy when reaching Ivan Cavaleiro's cross handed James Tarkowski the opportunity to intervene with a last-gasp goal-mouth clearance.

    Burnley responded as Ben Mee forced Areola into a save with a header before finding the back of the Fulham net, only for Wood's effort to be chalked off instantly, with Matej Vydra adjudged to have taken the ball out of play in the build-up.

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    Fulham were indebted to Tosin Adarabioyo and Antonee Robinson as headers from Wood and Tarkowski were deflected behind for corners in quick succession, but it was only a matter of time before the hosts' already slim survival hopes were dented.

    Vydra peeled in behind the Fulham defence to gather a long ball over the top, dropped a shoulder to skip around Joachim Andersen, brilliantly kept the ball in play and then picked out the late-arriving Westwood, who bundled in Burnley's opener.

    One became two on the stroke of half-time as Wood's sumptuous swerving volley found the top corner to leave Fulham with an almost insurmountable task in the second half.

    Parker resisted the temptation to make alterations at the break but waiting just nine minutes before introducing January signing Josh Maja, and the addition of an attacking reinforcement resulted in concerted Fulham pressure in search of a lifeline.

    Team news

    • Kenny Tete and Ola Aina returned as Fulham made two changes from the defeat at Chelsea.
    • Chris Wood passed a late fitness test as Burnley named an unchanged side for the seventh time this season.

    Aleksandar Mitrovic nearly delivered one before the hour mark, but his near-post header from Bobby Decordova-Reid's cross rippled the side-netting.

    Fulham felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Charlie Taylor lunged in on Lookman, but he was adjudged to have made contact with both man and ball by referee David Coote and VAR Peter Bankes.

    The hosts' frustrations with the officials were felt equally by Burnley moments later when Fulham goalkeeper Areola escaped punishment for a clear handball outside which prevented Vydra from racing through on the unguarded goal, but, again, VAR chose not to intervene.

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    Was Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola lucky to escape a red card for a deliberate handball outside the area in their 2-0 defeat to Burnley?

    Anguissa could have kick-started a late Fulham rally but his thunderous drive crashed off the underside of the Burnley bar.

    Substitute Jay Rodriguez had the chance to put Fulham out of their misery, but Areola, who was fortunate to still be on the pitch, produced a fine save to give his side a fighting chance heading into the final quarter of an hour, but it was one they couldn't take.

    What the managers said...

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    An emotional Scott Parker spoke to the MNF studio after Fulham's relegation was confirmed after their 2-0 defeat to Burnley at Craven Cottage.

    Fulham manager Scott Parker: "I'm hurt, I'm gutted. This has been looming us, we've flirted with it for a long time, there are no words that I can say other than I am gutted we have not been successful this year. Staying in this division was success for us, we knew it was always going to be a challenge, but it is bitterly disappointing not to do that.

    "The performance levels have been there, the fine margins and gulf in class in this division are so small. We've been so close at times but yet so far. Over the last five or six games, we've just fallen short.

    "My players have given absolutely everything this year, and I have seen that again tonight. Endeavour, desire, effort, but we have fallen short on quality at times. Over the coming weeks we need to have some discussions and work out what we need to do to move forward and try and get off this rollercoaster."

    FULHAM STATS
    Image: FULHAM STATS

    Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "It was an awkward game for obvious reasons, but we dealt with that. The second half was an ugly, but you expect that, and we dealt with it very well.

    "To secure a sixth season in the Premier League with three games to spare having got just two points from our first seven games is a really big achievement. These players deserve a lot of credit.

    "This year has been my most challenging as a manager off the pitch with the long-winded sale of the club where not a lot of finance was put in, so a lot of credit goes to my players and staff.

    "You've got to work through all those challenges off the pitch to make sure the team is still motivated on it, and we never lack motivation to be fair."

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    Sean Dyche says his Burnley players and staff deserve massive credit for securing another season in the Premier League, especially with the lack of investment and the takeover happening behind the scenes.

    Neville: Burnley ruthless, Fulham aren't

    Sky Sports' Gary Neville:

    "The difference between the two sides was know-how, experience. It was men against boys, Burnley looked like a team who trusted what they were asked to do. Fulham, like all the three teams at the bottom, have not been good enough throughout the season. I trust Burnley, I didn't think for one second Fulham would win. Burnley are reliable and Fulham aren't, they are inconsistent and not clinical, and that is the big difference, Burnley are clinical and ruthless."

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    Aleksandar Mitrovic conceded that Fulham failed their fans and the club this season after their relegation was confirmed with their 2-0 defeat to Burnley at Craven Cottage.

    Three relegated with three to spare - Match stats

    • Fulham's defeat means all three/four teams have been relegated with as many as three games remaining for the first time in Premier League history.
    • Burnley have won on five of their last eight Premier League trips to London (L3) after enjoying just three victories on their previous 30 trips to the capital in the competition (D4 L23).
    • Fulham have failed to score in 11 home league games in a season for just the second time in their history (also 11 in the third tier in 93-94) while they are the first side to do so in the top-flight since Manchester City in 2006-07 (13 in total).
    • Burnley named an unchanged starting XI for the seventh time in the Premier League this season, with only Leeds (10) and Aston Villa (8) fielding unchanged starting line-ups more often in the top-flight in 20-21.
    • Six of Ashley Westwood's seven Premier League goals for Burnley have come away from Turf Moor, with the midfielder scoring in consecutive away appearances for the second time with the Clarets in the top-flight.

    Man of the Match - Chris Wood

    Chris Wood attacks the ball against Fulham

    Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher:

    "If you're a team who are going to be in the bottom half and you've got a player who can get you goals in double figures like Chris Wood, you'll be a long way towards staying in the Premier League. That is why he is so vital to Burnley."

    What's next?

    Live Premier League

    Burnley host Leeds on Saturday at 12.30pm, before Fulham travel to Southampton on Saturday at 3pm - live on Sky Sports Premier League.

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