Jokanovic hits out at Fulham ‘kids’
‘Now it is time for them to realise that we cannot wait for a miracle’
Slavisa Jokanovic, the under-pressure Fulham head coach, has accused his players of failing to show enough effort and playing “like kids” in a run of five consecutive defeats that has left them at the foot of the Premier League.
In a scathing attack, Jokanovic revealed he had this week told his players he was a “fantastic coach”, whose pre-match instructions were being ignored. Jokanovic warned Fulham’s summer signings that they must no longer allow performances to be affected by their “adaptation” to a new club, adding he would not be afraid to “clean” the dressing room of those who will not fight for the shirt.
Fulham travel to Liverpool tomorrow, attempting to improve on Monday’s lifeless defeat by Huddersfield, when they equalled a Premier League record by conceding 29 goals in their opening 11 games.
“After the Huddersfield game, I told them: ‘Listen, I am a fantastic coach’,” said Jokanovic. “I did a fantastic job with my staff because everything we expected, we found it during the game.”
Asked how he could change his squad’s doleful body language, the Fulham head coach said: “They need to change the body language. They are professional.
“We did not make enough effort [against Huddersfield]. We need to be more motivated and be ready for a fight, be ready for battle. My people will be available for the fight and make our supporters proud. If we are confused, scared and play like kids, it is not easy for any team.”
Fulham spent about £100 million on 12 signings this summer, but many have struggled to impress. Arrivals such as Jean Michael Seri and Andre-frank Zambo Anguissa, two midfielders signed for a combined fee in excess of £50million, are among those who have been unable to find consistency.
Jokanovic has overseen multiple overhauls of the squad in his three years at Fulham, with more than 35 players leaving during his spell as head coach.
“So many times I clean the dressing room and find the players who have the ambition to work,” Jokanovic said. “I give the people time for adaptation, now it is time for them to understand we do not have time for waiting for a miracle.
“I never played for any coach. I always played for myself, my family, my team-mates, the fans. This is what they must understand. I do not need anyone to fight for me.”
The Daily Telegraph revealed this week that Scott Parker, who is one of Jokanovic’s coaches, could be given the chance to save Fulham’s season if the Serbian is sacked. “It is not a distraction for me, it is part of this business,” said Jokanovic.
Defiant: Slavisa Jokanovic says he is a ‘fantastic coach’