Cot­tagers are lack­ing ef­fort, says Jokanovic

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Football - DE­CLAN WAR­RING­TON Foot­ball writer

SLAV­ISA Jokanovic has ac­cused his Fulham play­ers of lack­ing fight and ef­fort as they head to Liver­pool at­tempt­ing to res­cue their Premier League sea­son.

The man­ager, 50, re­mains un­der in­tense pres­sure af­ter their worst re­sult of a dis­ap­point­ing start to 2018/19 came in Mon­day’s 1-0 de­feat by Hud­der­s­field, since when club coach Scott Parker has been linked with his po­si­tion.

While Jokanovic dis­missed those re­ports as “spec­u­la­tion”, he recog­nises his team need to vastly im­prove if they are to sur­vive, un­ex­pect­edly crit­i­cis­ing them and de­mand­ing they do not throw away in a mat­ter of months the Premier League sta­tus that took years to se­cure.

“We chose an ugly way to lose the game,” he said. “You must be proud, com­pet­i­tive and fight at the last mo­ment and make ex­tra ef­fort.

“We are right now not show­ing this qual­ity or ef­fort, we must wake up and when we lose the game we must know how we lost it; we can­not sell our skin so cheap.

“A few times be­fore games I say my team is ready for the fight, but are not show­ing ef­fort or am­bi­tion and we must change this. We must ac­cept this sit­u­a­tion and go out­side our com­fort zone, be­cause this didn’t bring us a good re­sult.

“We must shake our hands, push harder; I don’t be­lieve this is im­pos­si­ble. Be­hind us is a long two and a half years, to give up af­ter a few months; I will re­peat, (the) bat­tle will be tough, we will be strong. It’s the start of the bat­tle; we didn’t show enough power or weapons and we must change this.

“We must make peo­ple around us proud. When we lose peo­ple can go home sat­is­fied, but right now we’re not of­fer­ing that.”

De­spite Liver­pool’s sim­i­larly poor 2-0 de­feat at Red Star Bel­grade, Jurgen Klopp’s team will to­mor­row pose a sig­nif­i­cant threat to Fulham’s hopes of ar­rest­ing their slide.

Jokanovic re­mains without the in­jured Joe Bryan and Kevin McDon­ald, and he said of their trip to An­field: “Liver­pool are com­ing from a de­feat and are hurt; we are hurt more than Liver­pool and they will show some dif­fer­ent imag­i­na­tion than the last game.

“We need to be more mo­ti­vated and be ready for a fight, be ready for bat­tle, don’t give up and in our plans there ex­ists a way to win the points.

“The re­sult is more im­por­tant and points, but if you are not avail­able and don’t catch this level, there ex­ists a way to lose the points.

“If we are con­fused, scared and play like kids, it’s not easy.

“(Hud­der­s­field) were al­ways more strong than us; the ef­fort wasn’t strong enough.”

Martin Rick­ett/ PA

Fulham man­agerSlav­isa Jokanovic

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