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Jokanovic admits Fulham need time

last updated Saturday 18th August 2018, 1:00 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham Coach Slavisa Jokanovic
Fulham Coach
Slavisa Jokanovic
Slavisa Jokanovic
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted Fulham will need time to find their feet back in the Premier League as he seeks to integrate a dozen new players into his squad at Craven Cottage.

The newly promoted side make the trip back to Wembley, where they won the Championship play-off in May, on Saturday for a daunting confrontation with Tottenham Hotspur.

Jokanovic has major concerns across his backline, where injuries and suspension have left Fulham with a makeshift feel, but took enough positives from their opening weekend defeat by Crystal Palace to offer optimism.

More than £100m was spent in the market this summer, with eight of the new faces having featured against Palace. A ninth, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, could be involved for the meeting with Spurs.

“I haven’t found many negatives since our return to the Premier League, and I always try and speak about positive things,” said the manager. “In certain situations maybe we have to react a little bit better but we need to accept I have started with a completely new defence, a new goalkeeper and many new players.

Somebody told me the Chelsea coach, Maurizio Sarri, had said they need a minimum of three months to build their team. If he needs three months, we are going to ask for three years.

“Our intention is to be organised, do teams damage and try to win points and games. If it doesn’t happen, we must keep going, take our time, stay calm and, in some way, find a solution for a completely new team.

We are talking about following our style but this style needs to [be learned by] some new faces and new players. We are talking about quality players but they haven’t worked at the moment with the rest of their new teammates. In this process we need time. So what we’re going to do is be calm, push forward and be brave. We must trust in ourselves but be more clinical.”

Fabri is expected to retain his place in goal against Spurs with another new signing, Sergio Rico, on the bench. Marcus Bettinelli, who made 26 starts in the Championship campaign but was hampered by injury in pre-season, finds himself third-choice but Jokanovic will resist attempts to send the 26-year-old on loan before the closure of the window at the end of the month.

“I am happy with three quality goalkeepers,” the manager said. “A loan? I am not thinking in this direction. I do not know what the player is thinking but he must work and fight for his chance.”

Source Dominic Fifield at The Guardian
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