Slavisa Jokanovic insists his Fulham side are ready for Saturday’s west London against QPR – and wants his team to make up for the 2-1 defeat they suffered at Craven Cottage at the hands of their local rivals in October.
Fulham largely dominated the first encounter of the season between the two sides, but missed a hatful of chances – including two spot-kicks – as Rangers recorded their first win at the Cottage since 1980. Jokanovic believes his side has improved markedly since that defeat and hopes the Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Loftus Road can be a springboard towards the play-offs for the Whites.
The Serbian head coach told his pre-match press conference:
We played very well last time against QPR. We had many attempts at goal but missed two penalties. Now we are playing with more confidence. We’ve been more solid recently and have created many chances. We all believe this is the best way to fight for victory.
Jokanovic has not needed to remind his players just how important the derby is.
We know the game is very important for our fans, and we will be working very hard for the three points. This is a derby and a great date. I’m excited, like our supporters, and like QPR’s supporters. I want to win all the games. I know my players are enjoying fighting. They’re working really hard and they’re really focused.
We have to arrive with the mindset of winning the three points. We are not in the play-offs, and we must improve. We need to focus on what’s in front of us. The weekend is an opportunity to win three points, and that’s all we’re thinking about at the moment.
The Serbian head coach, when asked about Fulham’s likely business during the transfer window, said he ‘expected new signings soon’. He was quick to dismiss any lingering furore over the future of on-loan Derby County striker Chris Martin, who has now been fully integrated back into the first-time squad, with some more memorable remarks:
The situation with Chris Martin is over. He’s a very important part of my squad. Our fans know my opinion. He’s working well. I bought a house in Putney fifteen years ago and then sold it. That doesn’t mean I can just ask for it back now.
Jokanovic also confirmed that apart from the absence of Neeskens Kebano and Floyd Ayite, who are currently reresenting their countries at the African Cup of Nations, he will have a fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday’s game.