Jokanovic hits out at Ful­ham ‘kids’

‘Now it is time for them to re­alise that we can­not wait for a mir­a­cle’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Sam Dean

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’

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