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Jokanovic aiming for all three points at Newcastle

last updated Thursday 09th March 2017, 10:29 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham Coach Slavisa Jokanovic
Fulham Coach
Slavisa Jokanovic
Slavisa Jokanovic
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Fulham Coach Slavisa Jokanovic says Newcastle United deserve to be at the top of the Sky Bet Championship, but insists that won’t put Fulham off aiming for all three points on Saturday.

“I am not surprised [that they’re top],” he said in his pre-match press conference. “They made great investments, they are a big club and they deserve to be where they are right now.

“All of our games are tough games, and this one is away against the top Championship team. But we are in a good moment of form and we have got confidence to try and deliver our best performance and fight for the points.

“I know [Rafa Benitez], I have had the opportunity to speak with him and I know him from when we played the first game at the beginning of the Championship.

“He is a big name in our competition, he is a quality coach, he is successful, he is a winner of the Champions League and many trophies. He is a very good manager but my job is to try and find a way to beat him.”

The Whites will be looking to complete the double over the title favourites, following the 1-0 win at Craven Cottage some seven months ago.

“It was the beginning of the Championship, we won three points,” Jokanovic stated. “After that game we played many games, and in that moment of the competition no-one knew who was who, and we’ve gone and surprised them a little bit.

“It was a good night for ourselves but this was many months ago and now it’s a different situation, a different moment in the competition and now we must be ready for what is here in front of us.”

Fulham’s draw with fellow Play-Off hopefuls Leeds United on Tuesday means the gap to the top-six remains at five points.

But Jokanovic remains optimistic that his side’s good form, aided by a fixture in hand, can see them gatecrash the party.

“We are close,” he admitted. “In this period of the competition we must be in the top level of concentration and try not to make mistakes, and find ways to win the points.

“There are still 11 games in front of us and there is this gap where we have one game less than the top teams in front of us.

“We expect we can be competitive. I expect we are going to cut this gap as soon as possible and be in the position of fighting to be in the top-six.”

On Thursday morning it was announced that Jokanovic was in the running for February’s Manager of the Month award, but he is more concerned with the three points available on Tyneside than personal recognition.

“It is nice for my staff and for myself but I have not come here to be fighting for some individual awards,” he explained. “I am concentrating fully, especially for the Newcastle game, on what is immediately in front of us, and that’s it.”

The Head Coach revealed that Floyd Ayité remains absent for the trip to St James’ Park, while there is still hope that Lucas Piazon could return before the end of the season, whenever that may be for Fulham.

“At this moment it is only Floyd Ayité who is outside of the squad,” he revealed. “Apart from this, every other player is available for Saturday’s game.

“Lucas Piazon was really important and part of this business, part of this football club, so he is a big loss for us.

“We expect he can be available for some of the last games of this Championship, or if we push ourselves into the top-six he can be ready for the Play-Offs.”

Source Fulham FC
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