‘We’ve surprised everyone’ says Fulham star Palhinha

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Fulham midfielder João Palhinha thinks that the Cottagers have “surprised everyone” so far this season, though the Portuguese anchorman is still targeting more wins and points before the Premier League campaign ends.

Palhinha is enjoying a stellar maiden year with Fulham, where the 27-year-old is in the running to be named the club’s Player of the Year thanks to his marauding performances in midfield.

The 20-times capped international joined the Londoners as part of the club’s post-promotion recruitment drive, sealing a £20m-swtich from Sporting CP in July last year.

Palhinha targeting strong finish

Tipped to go straight back down to the Championship by most supporters and pundits in August, Fulham have punched above their weight and defied their critics for the majority of the season, though a run of four successive defeats has triggered a slip down the standings.

However, key performer Joao Palhinha says the club can get back on track to land a top half finish, starting with this weekend’s fixture at Everton.

“We have nine more games until the end of the season,” Palhinha said while discussing recent development with Fulham’s official website.

“The last few matches, unfortunately we didn’t win, but I think we can start to win again this weekend.

“We will do our best to start to win again because it’s really important for me, my teammates, all the staff, everyone, to start winning again, because we have a lot of potential, quality in the whole team.

Overachievement isn’t easy says Palhinha

Unfancied Fulham are targeting their highest Premier League finish since they ended the 2010/11 season in eighth position, and Palhinha says that he had his teammates have put a huge amount of effort into their bid to be a competitive force in England’s top tier.

“What we’ve done until this moment, I think we need to give a lot of value to this, because it’s not easy in the Premier League.

“We are doing our best, we are doing all our work, and I think we’ve surprised everyone. If someone told you that Fulham would be in the place we are at the moment in the Premier League, I think nobody would believe it.

“We’ve fallen down a little bit in terms of position unfortunately, because of the last matches. But I think, and I hope, in the last matches in the Premier League this season, that we will be in a better position, like we were before.”

Palhinha’s impact for Fulham

Joao Palhinha forged a reputation for hard tackles and heavy challenges in his homeland, and the screening midfielder has brought a real combative spirit to the Premier League since his move to the UK this term.

The 27-year-old has been averaging a meaty 4.0 tackles per game in the division, which is the highest figure in the competition, while only Newcastle’s Joelinton has collected more yellow cards.

Palhinha ranks joint-second in that regard with ten yellow cards alongside his compatriot and fellow midfielder Ruben Neves, who has been biting in on opponents for relegation-threatened Wolves. Palhinha’s ball-winning abilities are believed to have earned him interest from some of the league’s bigger clubs.

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