Slavisa Jokanovic has warned his Fulham players to be fully prepared for a very different type of test to what they have faced recently when they tackle Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow afternoon.
Confidence is high at Craven Cottage after a thumping victory over Reading last weekend moved the Cottagers closer to the Championship top six, but the Serbian head coach has made sure that Fulham’s focus is firmly on the task in front of them at Moulineux. He has told his side to expect a physical and robust contest from Paul Lambert’s side, who were also desperate for some precious points to arrest an alarming slump in front of their own fans.
Jokanovic told FulhamFCTV:
Our preparation has been the same as for all the other games. We know what is going to be in front of us is a tough game. We need the points, Wolves need the points too. It can be a little bit tricky – they have not been so successful in the last game that they played at home. But we know what we can expect. It is a very solid, strong team, they will try bombing us with long balls and they will press us very strongly. We have to be ready for that and I believe we are very read. We have to believe in ourselves, push hard and try to put ourselves closer to the top six.
The Fulham head coach also says he wants to marry the flair that Fulham showed against Reading with the defensive solidity that earned them a fifth clean sheet of the campaign, which he believes has been unremarked upon.
If you compare our last two, we played a similar game against Brighton to what we played against Reading. But we found two completely different results. What has changed is that we didn’t make the important mistake and we were more clinical against Reading. All the papers were taking about how we scored five goals, but I am really happy because we kept our fifth clean sheet and this is important news for us.
I expect we are going to try and find our style against Wolves. I repeat I expect a different kind of game to the ones who played in the last two games and we have to be ready for this kind of game. We need to believe in ourselves, try and find this kind of intensity, try and find the style that we have step-by-step been doing in our last game and I genuinely believe we have more chance to win the game if we play good football.
Jokanovic has spent time this week explaining to his players what he expects them to deliver tomorrow against a Wolves side and is confident that he will not have to make too many tactical tweaks.
If they are going to play a long ball style and be physical, we have to be clever enough to find our way and find out how we can be dangerous for them. I don’t think we can be physical – I don’t think we have players with the characteristics to play long ball and the second phase – but we have to clever. When you difficulty because somebody is pressing you, you have to have confidence and you have to believe [in our ability].
This cannot be tough for us. We need to believe in ourselves and when somebody presses us, this is not a signal for us to kick the ball outside of the stadium. Sometimes it is completely legal but if they press us with two or three or four players, spare men will exist elsewhere in the field. We have to find them.
The Fulham head coach also said he is not paying too much attention to the current league table and is preferring to focus solely on what is necessary to pick up three more important points.
I am not thinking about top six, top eight or something like this. I am thinking about three new points and this has to be our target. That’s it. It is so early … I know people have observed the classification, I am doing the same thing, but I prefer to be quiet. My players know what is our target. They know what is our long-term target but very clearly what is in front of us is to win the game [against Wolves].