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Fulham owner Khan pledges transfer “green light” in aim for Premier League promotion

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Fulham has done some magnificent things in the 2000s, something owner Shahid Khan probably expected to continue when he took over in 2013.

Instead, Khan got one year of Premier League football, a season that involved three managers and a lot of tumult en route to relegation.

[ JPW: Man City fans living the dream ]

Now after two seasons of failing to bounce back to the top flight, Khan is pledging to support manager into 2016-17 with the aims of returning to the Premier League.

In a message to season ticket holders on Fulham’s site, Khan said the following regarding the team under former Watford manager Slaviša Jokanović, who took over Fulham on Dec. 27:

Slaviša will be given the green light to build a team capable of promotion, and that’s important, because it appears the Sky Bet Championship will be as difficult as ever.

The complete support and passion of our loyal fans will be crucial as we begin our first full season under Slaviša’s direction and take aim at promotion, and that’s why season ticket prices will not increase next season. We want and need you with us!

Fulham is in the Championship’s 21st place, nine points clear of the drop zone but 23 points off the promotion playoff pace. That’s 39 points away from the automatic promotion spots, so smart buys and plenty will be needed to improve the club for a run at the Premier League (especially with at least two sizable clubs joining the Championship next season in Aston Villa and Sunderland and/or Newcastle United).

The Cottagers, in the past sometimes described as “Fulhamerica”, have a pair of American players in Emerson Hyndman and Tim Ream, though the former is expected to move onto greener pastures in the summer. U-21 midfielder Luca de la Torre is another Yank at Craven Cottage.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.