Fulham will hope to finish what has been an impressive season strongly but manager Marco Silva is already looking ahead to trying to build on it.
The Cottagers’ hopes of a place in Europe have evaporated amid a run of five defeats from their last seven games, but their first campaign back in the Premier League has still exceeded all expectations.
They have six games left, starting with Sunday’s visit of Manchester City, before another important summer.
Silva told skysports.com: “I can tell you we have the big plan for the next season already there, we’re already on track.
“This season was one of the most important seasons for Fulham Football Club so far because, after the last two Premier League seasons, where the club didn’t perform at that level – for many reasons, I don’t want to be unfair because I wasn’t here – this season was crucial for the club to remain in the Premier League.
“We are doing it and we are doing it playing well, improving players, making the fans proud of us.
“We are building the momentum and the platform for next season as well. Next season will probably be even more important than this one because we have to start to sustain this club in the Premier League for everyone to see Fulham as a Premier League club.
“I believe it’s where the club belongs and, for this to happen season after season, we have to do the right things on the pitch and off the pitch and show the ambition to compete with all the clubs like we’ve been doing on the pitch, but at the same time off the pitch as well.”
Silva, who is set to celebrate two years in charge at Craven Cottage at the beginning of July, knows that Fulham’s exploits this season have raised the bar for future campaigns.
He does not have a problem with that, though, saying: “Our fans have expectations (on) a different level and it’s a good sign they raise their expectations.
“First, it shows they believe in ourselves, it reflects what we’re doing – to make them believe more, to dream more, that’s a consequence from our performance. It’s a good feeling, a good pressure, a privilege to have this pressure and raise the expectations on yourself.
“It’s up to us to prepare well ourselves. For us to do the same or even better next season we have to do many things.”