TOUGH TALK FROM BOSS JOKANOVIC
SLAVISA JOKANOVIC says Fulham must survive tough moments if they are to secure the top-six spot which is well within their grasp.
Again their football impressed, as it has all season, in sweeping aside Ipswich in the glorious west London sun.
Floyd Ayite, Scott Malone and Stefan Johansen punished the wasteful Tractor Boys and could have easily inflicted more damage before Christophe Berra’s late consolation.
Jokanovic’s side are easy on the eye but the manager does not seem to cherish that quality as much as others and wants to see more grit to claim the play-off place that is there for the taking.
“We showed character, ambition and confidence. We scored three goals and we could have scored more if we are honest,” he said.
“We knew at some point in the game we were going to be in trouble and this time we know how to better survive this moment.
“We try to follow some kind of style. It’s simple because it is easy for us to win games.
“If I compare teams in front of us like Newcastle or Brighton I am not sure they play better football than what we play, but I am sure they were more quiet in crucial moments in the game.
“They’re more solid and they survive difficult moments during games more easier than we do, and this is what we need to improve.
“In this short period in front of us we must improve this part of the game. It can bring us into the top six.”
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was once again left to ponder on his side’s failure to score goals.
“It’s frustrating really because we had good chances,” he said. “Certainly in the second half we had three great chances before they scored but it’s probably the tale of our season that we didn’t score them.
“They didn’t defend particularly well either. They’re keeper, I’m sure Slavisa thinks it was good decision to change, because of the performance he got out of him.”
With sections of the away fans venting their frustrations at McCarthy and Ipswich owner Marcus Evans, he was asked how that made him feel. “Like I want to go home and have a beer,” came the quip back.
On the field Ryan Fredericks tormented Myles Kenlock down the Fulham right throughout the first half, and Ayite made some of his fine work count. Martin’s initial effort from the full-back’s low cross was parried by Bartosz Bialkowski but Ayite was on hand to turn in the rebound.
Malone, roaming forward from left-back, went one better. Again Ayite was involved, playing a delightful one-two with his heel as the defender swept in from left, allowing Malone to glide the ball in off the far post with a first-time shot.
Ipswich began showing more of a threat after the break. Marcus Bettinelli, recalled after David Button’s poor midweek display, proved his worth when forced into a pair of saves from Freddie Sears and David McGoldrick that were so good he received a standing ovation. The second proved crucial as almost immediately after Fulham got the third when Johansen jinked on to his left and fired low past Bialkowski. In contrast to the rapturous home support, Ipswich fans’ calls for McCarthy’s head were hardly abated by Berra’s late consolation.
GAME CHANGER: Fulham’s Floyd Ayite was in fine form