Slavisa Jokanovic admitted that the sending off of Barnsley full-back Dmitri Cavare was the turning point as Fulham came from behind to win at Oakwell and move in the Championship play-offs.
Jokanovic was disappointed that his side didn’t begin with the same intensity as they had started with when the Whites thrashed Burton Albion last weekend – and the Fulham boss felt his team didn’t deal effectively with the home side’s consistent pressing high up the field. He told his post-match press conference:
We started a little bit nervous. We didn’t play with enough pace, and they pressed us very hard. After that we tried to play a little bit more direct.
The Serbian head coach was certain that Cavare’s sending off – for a mad moment of retaliation on Stefan Johansen – dramatically changed the nature of a contest that Barnsley had dominated until just before the break.
The second yellow card was an important moment for my team. You can say it was the most important moment of the match. In the second half of the game we played with more patience, moved the ball very well and fortunately we scored the goal early. We also tried to look to the bench to try and find some kind of solution. And then, in injury time, we scored two goals more.
Jokanovic was full of praise for Matt Targett, who came on as a half-time substitute to make his Fulham debut and helped the Whites to their fourth win of the month,
It was great, He’s a fast player with a very good left foot. He helped us when we tried to be more aggressive on the pitch. He’s only had three of four training sessions with us. He still needs a little bit of time to adjust himself. He’s a player with Premier League experience; he did a great job for us today and I can expect he still can be even better.
Jokanovic played down any joyfulness at finally breaking into the top six – insisting that his side must keep their hands down and remain focused on the next fixture.
We are only thinking about the next game, how to win that game, and if that’s successful, then we’ll only be thinking about the next game after Forest. We are going step by step. We have good momentum, we can be satisfied, but we haven’t done anything. We still must be focused and concentrated in our work. Taking it step by step – this is our job.
This doesn’t guarantee us anything. We need to keep going. We need to focus and push hard in training. If we are in the top six at the end of the season, only then is when you can say whether or not it was a success for us. This is our fourth league win in a row. We were always thinking about how to win the game. This is the best thing you can think about right now