Slavisa Jokanovic praised Fulham’s ‘character’ and ‘confidence’ as the Whites came from behind to beat Sunderland last night and move above Cardiff in the race for promotion to the Premier League.
Fulham were able to dust themselves down after the shock of going behind to an excellent strike from Joel Asoro and equalised at just the right time through Lucas Piazon right on the stroke of half-time. The home side were much improved in the second half but had to wait until fourteen minutes from time when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in Stefan Johansen’s free-kick to secure a precious three points.
Jokanovic told his post-match press conference:
In the first 45 minutes we wanted to dominate the situation. We moved the ball but without the last pass, without enough shots. We dominated the situation but we weren’t dangerous enough. Sunderland wanted to do us damage and they scored the goal.
It wasn’t easy for us but we showed great character at the end of the first 45 minutes and especially in the second half. We really wanted to win the game and we took the necessary risks. We didn’t find our best performance, but we showed great character, great confidence to change our situation, and we made a very important comeback to win these very important points for us.
The Fulham head coach was delighted with the application of his senior players as well as Aboubakar Kamara after the French forward turned the game having replaced the injured Matt Targett late in the first half.
Everyone showed character, players like Tim Ream or Kevin McDonald or Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored the goal. [Aboubakar] Kamara made a great impact for the team. Stefan [Johansen] again showed great character in the second half. They pushed the team in the right way to win the game.
Jokanovic insisted that the win will mean nothing if Cardiff City are able to beat Hull and Reading to take the second automatic promotion place.
Now it’s Cardiff’s turn and we’re going to wait and see if they’re under some kind of pressure or not. The ball is in their court now. I’ve repeated many times, if they win these two games that are ahead of them, we cannot do anything.
But we must be comfortable and we must try to be competitive and try to win the game against Birmingham. It might not be enough for us, but we must be ready for [the] play-offs. If we cannot finish the short way, we must be ready to finish this job in the longest way.
The Serbian remained optimistic that Targett would be available to play in the final game of the season at St. Andrew’s despite suffering a painful injury in the build up to Asoro’s stunning strike.
It’s an ankle problem. I don’t know, but we expect he’s going to be available,