Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno insists he holds no grudge against former club Arsenal.
Fulham will be three points off the Champions League places if they win Monday’s west London derby at Brentford, and there is an argument that Leno has been one of the signings of the season.
He has rebuilt his career since being replaced by Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal No1. Leno was hurt by his departure from Emirates Stadium, but says he has no ill-feeling towards his former club.
“I don’t have toxic [feelings] or bad energy for Arsenal,” he told the London Evening Standard. “It didn’t end in the perfect way, but my reception at the Emirates was really good. I get fans coming up to me saying, ‘thank you for your four years… you were very good’.
“I was really happy with my performances. Even when they dropped me, I did nothing wrong. I came through the front door and I left through the front door. I still have a connection to the club.
“It was clear for me, I wanted to stay in the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world by far — and London life, I really love it here.
“I spoke to people at Arsenal about wanting to join Fulham. Everyone said it’s a nice family club. And I played many times against Fulham and it is an old-school stadium. All these aspects played a role.
“The goalkeeper coach [Hugo Oliveira] and the manager [Silva] spoke to me about their plans. Hugo is a very good coach. I love my job, and if you have someone who is always smiling, he lifts you up in difficult times.
“At the beginning, the main goal was to stay in the Premier League. We are in the quarter-final of the FA Cup, we’re seventh in the League — no one saw that coming.”