Everton's David Moyes insisted his side are on course to exceed last season's performances, when they finished fourth, looking relaxed and exuding calm even though he admitted he is unlikely to buy the goalscorer he craves.
Counterpart Chris Coleman, relieved to see Brian McBride's goal earn Fulham their first win of the embryonic season, needs to shore up his defence despite this clean sheet and has two men in his sights, one believed to be the Celtic central defender Bobo Balde.
"It would be great to get both of my targets, but I am confident I will get one," said Coleman, who listed several first-team players out injured as he operates on one of the smallest Premiership transfer budgets.
And Coleman hopes that any arrivals will be as committed as McBride, a striker who used to ply his trade on loan at Everton. He added: "Brian is worshipped at this club for his brilliant attitude. I only wish we signed him a few years earlier. That's his second goal of the season and he had another harshly disallowed."
Fulham celebrated, on and off the pitch, as if victory had guaranteed another season of Premiership football already, and Coleman explained: "You could sense the relief around the ground, and I thought our fans were fantastic; they kept going for us, and did not get on our backs."
But they did get on the back of Everton's Manchester United summer signing Phil Neville, who was sent off for two second-half bookings by the Yorkshire referee Mike Riley.
Neville protested: "It is the first time I have been sent off in my career. It was disappointing because the second card was in the last minute of the game. In the first half he gave a foul against me and then agreed I had got the ball. I thought then I might have my work cut out."
The second booking was for a lazy trip on Tomasz Radzinski and Neville said: "Foreign forwards maybe make the most of challenges. That is not an excuse. It wasn't Radzinski who got me sent off, it was a little bit of the referee and a little bit of a tired challenge but it wasn't worthy of a booking."
The disappointment for Moyes is that his side is out of the Champions' League, already at the wrong end of the Premiership table and desperately lack an attacking edge. But he said: "I know what some people might say, but we will prove to be better than last season and played well apart from in the final third."
Goal: McBride (57) 1-0.
Fulham (4-4-2): Warner; Volz, Knight, Bocanegra, Niclas Jensen; Malbranque, Claus Jensen, Diop, Boa Morte; McBride, Radzinski. Substitutes not used: Batista (gk), Helguson, John, Elrich, Rehman.
Everton (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Kilbane (Ferguson, 75); Davies (Vaughan, 77), Neville, Arteta, Cahill; Osman, Bent (McFadden, 77). Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Ferrari.
Referee: M Riley (West Yorkshire).
Booked: Fulham Malbranque; Everton Weir, Neville.
Sent off: Neville (90).
Attendance: 17,169.Reuse content