Slavisa Jokanovic saluted Fulham’s battling qualities after his side shrugged off being reduced to ten men after 31 seconds to claim ‘a priceless point’ at Reading this afternoon.
The Serbian head coach had to reshape his strategy after Tomas Kalas was harshly dismissed for a challenge on Joseph Mendes in the first minute at the Madjeski Stadium but Fulham toiled manfully, even after Liam Kelly had put the Royals ahead, and got their reward through a fine Lucas Piazon strike with eight minutes remaining. Jokanovic was full of praise for his side’s spirit afterwards.
‘For us it’s a great result in a very complicated situation. It’s not so easy for us to play with one player less in the game after half a minute. The referee was very close to the situation, he has taken the decision, that is it. I’m not going to blame the referee, it’s not the first time some strange decisions happened in this stadium.
The team was very tactful, they defended very well, we all stuck together. 11 against 11 they are a team who has a lot of possession of the ball. They dominated us which is normal but they didn’t create so many opportunities. We were organised, and by the end we had played 99 minutes with 10 men. It’s not easy to fix all the problems. They scored a goal but we caught one of their mistakes to equalise the game. It’s a priceless point for us.
Jokanovic was pleased with his side’s adaptability after the shock of Kalas receiving his marching orders so early on.
I had to change many things. We knew it was a long time in front of us to play with 10 men. We tried to organise ourselves a little bit differently, we tried to not give them so much space, we stuck all together. It wasn’t easy, but we didn’t plan it. We adapted very well, we showed a great attitude and great character, and after this kind of situation we must be satisfied with one point.
We didn’t have an opportunity to show our identity, our style, but we showed a different face and I can be satisfied with this face. It wasn’t easy for Lucas Piazon but he finished it very well to bring us this priceless point.