SLAV: WE HAVE TO BE MORE AMBITIOUS
AFTER an encouraging start to the season the brakes have been slammed on Fulham’s promotion charge, prompting Slavisa Jokanovic to call for more ambition from his players.
An unbeaten August has made way for a winless September, with a goalless draw at Wigan the Cottagers’ third consecutive game without victory.
With just one goal in those three games, Fulham have scored eight times in eight league matches and the Serbian admitted he is still searching for answers in the final third.
“We are not satisfied but we didn’t do enough to win the game,” he admitted. “Again, like our last match, we had problems in the final third.
“We didn’t create enough chances, and we didn’t score – if you don’t score, even with keeping a clean sheet, is only one point and you can’t be satisfied.
“We have a new team, and we need to find a solution to this (attacking) problem. Generally we have to arrive in the final third with more ambition and more desire.
“We need to try taking on players, shooting from distance and using set pieces to open up the game.”
Fulham actually started brightly when Neeskens Kebano cut inside and stung Adam Bogdan’s palms with a powerful effort on three minutes, but the chance was a rare one.
At the other end Will Grigg shot into the sidenetting on six minutes, while a counter-attack in the 21st ended with Michael Jacobs firing high and wide.
Grigg was also denied by a lastditch Ragnar Sigurdsson tackle on 34 minutes, and Jordi Gomez scuffed his shot wide when the ball broke loose.
Chris Martin should have headed Fulham in front just a minute later but the big striker, unmarked and with the goal gaping, completely mistimed his connection with Jozabed’s pinpoint cross.
Two minutes before half-time Max Power found himself in space on the edge of the area, but dragged his shot well wide. Wigan – and Yanic Wildschut in particular – came out of the blocks quickest after the restart but had very little to show for it.
Jacobs’ 25-yard free-kick was fired well over on 70 minutes, while the tricky Wildschut cut inside onto his right foot four minutes later only to drag wide. Substitute Adam Le Fondre and Power combined to play in Jacobs on 84 minutes, but his low shot was saved by David Button.
Fulham nearly snatched a winner with four minutes remaining but Matt Smith could not turn Ryan Tunnicliffe’s low cross goalwards.
Wigan went even closer in the final minute, when Nick Powell pounced on a loose ball in the area but, leaning back, he shot well over.
Wigan boss Gary Caldwell said: “I think we were the team, second-half especially, that looked like winning. But I’m very pleased with the performance. Off the ball we were a lot more aggressive – something we’ve been working on – but the final product just wasn’t there.
“There are lots of positives – it could have been more, in terms of winning the game, but it’s a start we can build on. The performance is there and we now need to turn that into wins.
“We’re in a good vein of form, although the results haven’t been good. We don’t look like a team that’s only taken one point from five games.”
HANDS UP: Fulham keeper David Button punches the ball clear from a corner before Wigan’s Dan Burn can get his head to the ball
STAR MAN YANIC WILDSCHUT Wigan