Jokanovic wants a re­ac­tion from strug­gling Ful­ham

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - ED EL­LIOT

SLAV­ISA JOKANOVIC feels some of Ful­ham’s play­ers do not “hurt” enough when they are left out of his start­ing 11. The Cot­tagers boss, whose 12 sum­mer sign­ings cost more than £100mil­lion, has ex­per­i­mented with his team se­lec­tion since win­ning pro­mo­tion to the Premier League.

His side have so far strug­gled to make the step up and sit in the rel­e­ga­tion zone af­ter con­ced­ing 28 goals and reg­is­ter­ing just one win from 10 games.

“This process is never fin­ished, other play­ers are go­ing to have an op­por­tu­nity to push hard and fight for the space in the team,” Jokanovic said of his team se­lec­tion.

“I want to en­cour­age my play­ers to not wait for an op­por­tu­nity. I want to en­cour­age them to fight, to force the sit­u­a­tion and show me they are my best choice. This is what I ex­pect.

“I want to make some com­pe­ti­tion be­tween them and for them to be hurt when they are not in the start­ing 11. This is what I miss right now.”

Ful­ham travel to bot­tom side Hud­der­s­field to­mor­row evening search­ing for a first win since Au­gust 26. Jokanovic has de­manded im­prove­ment from his whole squad and urged them to rel­ish the chal­lenge of rec­ti­fy­ing their dis­ap­point­ing start.

“We need more, it’s sim­ple. At the be­gin­ning it’s not enough and we can­not be sat­is­fied with our­selves,” he said

“We didn’t make our sup­port­ers sat­is­fied too. They ob­serve us and they are wait­ing for the re­ac­tion. It’s not for the re­ac­tion of one player or two, it’s the re­ac­tion of all the team.

“We wanted to start with more points, with more qual­ity. This chal­lenge is open, is ahead of us, and we must be brave.”

Hud­der­s­field boss David Wag­ner views to­mor­row’s home clash as a “big op­por­tu­nity”. The Ter­ri­ers have failed to win any of their first 10 Premier League games this sea­son. They host a Ful­ham out­fit who are two places above them with two more points.

Wag­ner said: “This first win is mas­sive for us. We have shown a lot of good per­for­mances — not last week­end against Wat­ford (a 3-0 away loss) but the weeks be­fore.

“We have shown a lot of good things in our game. The play­ers have shown the right spirit. We got un­be­liev­able sup­port home and away from our sup­port­ers.

“But we haven’t won and it’s now the next op­por­tu­nity, a big op­por­tu­nity for us, against Ful­ham — a team which I ab­so­lutely re­spect. We know with the sup­port from the stands we can do this ex­tra yard which is un­be­liev­ably im­por­tant, and this is the mo­ment where we would like to turn it around.

“And with one win, as we all know, ev­ery­thing can look a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent.”

To­mor­row will mark ex­actly three years since Wag­ner’s ap­point­ment at Hud­der­s­field, who were 18th in the Cham­pi­onship at the time.

The Ger­man guided them to pro­mo­tion to the top flight via the play-offs in the fol­low­ing sea­son and they came 16th last term.

When asked about his up­com­ing an­niver­sary, he said: “If you look back and you see where we started and where we are now, ob­vi­ously some sur­pris­ing things have hap­pened in the last three years re­gard­ing us.

“I’m very, very hum­ble and glad. I really ap­pre­ci­ate that I was able to be part of this, what we have seen in the last three years, and I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to thank ev­ery­body — first and fore­most the chair­man (Dean Hoyle) and the board and our sup­port­ers, the back­room staff and my play­ers, ev­ery­body who really helped and worked for this club to give me an en­vi­ron­ment of warm wel­come and sup­port.

“I’m happy that so many peo­ple were part of what we’ve done. Now it’s up to us to make sure this con­tin­ues.”

He added: “We never spoke about the Premier League when I spoke to the chair­man the first time about what we should do in the fu­ture, this was never a theme for us. But it hap­pened.

“We came here — very sur­pris­ing. We stayed here — even more sur­pris­ing.

“And when you are part of it and you have the taste of it, you are so greedy that you like to make sure it con­tin­ues.”

Slav­isa Jokanovic: ‘We need more, it’s sim­ple’

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