Sheffield Wednesday beat Fulham 1-0 on their travels
FULHAM’S new head coach Slavisa Jokanovic stressed he is not a magician and that changes in Fulham’s fortunes will take time after his first match in the Cottagers dugout ended in defeat to promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday.
It took a first-half thunderbolt from Ross Wallace to separate the sides and even though Fulham had the vast majority of possession, it was the visitors who created more and better chances.
Jokanovic was appointed before Tuesday’s victory over Rotherham, but this was his first match in charge and it ended with the Cottagers returning to the form that preceded his arrival.
“I’m disappointed with the result, but not the performance.We played 60 minutes of very good football and they scored a fantastic goal.
“It’s frustrating, but I am not David Copperfield, I have come here to work, I will not fix problems fast.We must find the balance between attack and defence. We had 71% of the ball but we didn’t make enough of dangerous situations.”
Jokanovic got Watford promoted from the Championship last season and is glad to be back in England after six months with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“I am very happy and excited. Many Fulham fans sent me messages and believe that I can help them. I’m really happy with how they accepted me. I will work hard and push hard for them.”
With Sakari Mattila holding for Fulham, Jamie O’Hara and Emerson Hyndman pushed forward and three chances fell to the ex-Spurs midfielder in the first half, but two were off target and one well saved.
Wednesday were surrendering much of the possession and letting Fulham’s back four have the ball as the home side were forced to work hard to find a way through.
Then the wonderstrike from Wallace came. Cutting in from the right onto his left foot, he smacked a the ball from 25 yards into Andy Lonergan’s top-left corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Fulham had the ball in the net through McCormack when the Cottagers’ top scorer was played through, but he was rightly flagged offside.
They mined every avenue in search of an equaliser in the second half, but Wednesday remained resolute and had the better chances.
Twice Hooper went close after being put through.
Once, he faltered and Lonergan saved and then he pushed another chance over the bar. Atdhe Nuhiu also had a shot brilliantly saved by the Fulham keeper.
Cauley Woodrow had Fulham’s best chance late on, but he put a free header over from ten yards.
Wednesday’s first away league win since October 23 put them two points off the play-off places, but head coach Carlos Carvalhal said: “We are in a good position, but we are outsiders. There are teams more prepared to get the sixth place.
“We had ten players out today, but we will have a full team in two weeks and in the second part of the season, we can do better because we are strong.
“I was joking with Ross this week about him scoring. He’s not doing it at the moment, but in the week I pushed him to do it, he scored. It’s a coincidence, of course.
“Fulham had more of the ball today and controlled the game, but we created three or four clear chances for another goal. We deserved the victory.”
THE OWLS SWOOP: Ross Wallace celebrates his goal as Sheffield Wednesday continue to push for a play-off place