Slavisa Jokanovic insisted Fulham can go to the Madjeski Stadium and win on Tuesday after ten-man escaped from Craven Cottage with their play-off semi-final level following yesterday’s first leg.
The Serbian head coach believed Fulham were the better side and that Tom Cairney’s close-range header, which swiftly cancelled out a stunning strike from Jordan Obita, was the least his team deserved. Jokanovic told his post-match press conference after the final whistle:
We cannot be completely satisfied. We didn’t win the game but that happens to normal teams. I was expecting a hard, tough game. We found this to be the situation on the pitch, I believe we deserved to score some more goals and win the game but the result is a draw and everything is open for the game we are going to play on Tuesday night.
The Fulham boss felt that Reading’s opening goal could have been ruled out for a handball in the build up by Danny Williams.
It could have been a free-kick, they definitely touched the ball with the hand, and it’s a physical, complicated game. Sometimes referees make mistakes and this time was a costly mistake for us but we must prepare, we must be strong and be ready for what we are going to find on Tuesday night.
He was quick to praise his players’ reaction to going behind, though.
Okay, we showed direction and we were not scared after they scored the goal. To be honest they didn’t give us a lot of space to play today and they pressed us so hard.
To be honest they didn’t give us a lot of space to play today and they pressed us so hard. We kicked the ball so many times, so many long balls for Chris Martin. In the second half we started to find a little bit more space and we definitely found a bit more after the sending off. We started to move the ball from one side to the other and in the game we created many chances, but we were not clinical enough.
I believe we could have won the game but this is normal. I didn’t expect for us to win 5-0 like we did in December. It’s Reading’s choice of what they do, without giving us space for combinations immediately they started to look to play behind our centre backs.
There were many times where they tried to find these gaps behind our defenders and I expect them to try something similar in the away game. We have to be strong and believe in the possibility to push hard on Tuesday night.