They may have finished sixth and bowed out in the play-off semi-finals to Reading, but Fulham were the best team in the Championship last season.
So says Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk, who brings his troops to Craven Cottage tomorrow for a clash of two of the Championship's favourites for promotion.
Monk was last season in charge of a Leeds United side who Fulham just beat to the final play-off place, the 'other Whites' finishing five points behind in seventh.
“For me, Fulham were the best team in the league last season,” said Monk. “They were the most difficult team we played against and played very good football.
“Another season forward, they will have improved on that. They’re a team that are going in the right direction. They’ve got a very good manager, and he sets them up in a really good way.
“It’s a way that’s going to test us for sure, and we have to be ready for that. I think (Tom) Cairney is probably due back for this game, and that’s another thing we’ll have to be aware of.
“The game is definitely going to test us, and it will be a marker in some respects of where we are at this point.
“No game defines your season at this stage, but it’ll show us where we are. We’re on a good run, and we’ll try to take that confidence and momentum down there with us.”
Cairney, who has been struggling with a knee injury, is rated touch and go for the game, btu Lucas Piazon and Rafa Soares are definitely sidelined.
But winger Rui Fonte will be pushing for a start after making his return from a groin injury as a si=ub in last weekend's defeat at Burton.