Martin Jol, Fulham’s manager, refused to guarantee Mark Schwarzer a starting spot next season despite an inspired final day display to keep Swansea at bay.
Goals from Alexander Kacaniklic, Dimitar Berbatov and Urby Emanuelson separated the sides at the Liberty Stadium, but it was Schwarzer who single-handedly denied Swansea time after time with save after save.
The big frame of the 40-year-old Australian stopped Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Pablo Hernandez (twice), Leon Britton and an Ashley Williams effort onto the post to thwart Michael Laudrup’s men who could not quite believe their luck in front of goal.
Yet Jol revealed that man-of-the-match performance might not be enough for Schwarzer, who has turned down a new deal at Craven Cottage.
Jol said: “We offered Mark a new contract, but the only thing is he wanted to be guaranteed to be the number one, and that is not easy as we need a goalkeeper anyway.
“We don't know what will happen to (David) Stockdale and he does not want to be the number two. He wants to be number one as well and that is the problem.
“We will sit down with Mark and try to find a solution. Hopefully we will find a resolution. We won 3-0 and he was very good. It would have been different if he had not been there.
“But you have to compete and fight for your place. He wants almost a guarantee to be number one, but if we cannot find a solution we need to get a very good goalkeeper because you need to be very good to be better then, or the same, as him.”
Swansea had 19 shots to Fulham’s four, but Jol’s side showed a vital clinical edge when it mattered.
After Swedish midfielder Kacaniklic drilled a 22nd minute shot beyond Michel Vorm following a neat build-up between Emmanuel Frimpong and Bryan Ruiz, the visitors caught Swansea with two classic sucker punches late on.
Berbatov broke the offside trap to latch onto Bryan Ruiz’s 77th minute pass before substitute Emanuelson tapped into an empty net to seal the win in the closing stages.
That means the Welsh club finish in ninth place while Fulham jump into 12th – an increase of almost £2.5million on their starting final day position.
Jol added: “The win was exactly what we needed as the last four of five matches are the same every season, you can be in the top 10 or you can be 16th or 17th. This result takes us up to 12th so I am still satisfied."
Michael Laudrup, Swansea’s chief, said: “It was a disappointing end to the season, but the difference is not scoring chances.
“For 30 minutes in the second half we could have scored two or three goals. But I am not that disappointed. It is not new for me.
“We know where to work, what to do, and I am sure in a couple of days I will se the big picture. Everyone here says it is the best season ever. I have only been here 10 or 11 months and I trust them.”