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Jokanovic worried about Preston foul methods

last updated Friday 09th March 2018, 4:25 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham Coach Slavisa Jokanovic
Fulham Coach
Slavisa Jokanovic
Slavisa Jokanovic
Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic has called on the referee to protect Fulham when they play a Preston on Saturday, who have the worst disciplinary record in the Championship.

Preston have received 84 yellow cards and four red cards this season and Jokanovic wants official Simon Hooper to be watchful of their physical approach at Deepdale.

Fulham are chasing automatic promotion after an unbeaten run of 14 league matches and Jokanovic has suggested Preston will deliberately target their skilful players. He is wary the home side will want to stop Fulham playing their free-flowing style of football and has appealed for Hooper to clamp down on excessive tackling.

“I have had the opportunity to watch some Preston games and they are on the border of the limit,” said Jokanovic. “They are going to try and stop us in a legal or illegal way, and it is going to depend on the referee. They are going to want to stop this way that we play.

“It depends what kind of referee we find against Preston. When I watch the Premier League I know what the level of protection is, more or less.

“Sometimes in the Championship I am a little bit confused, and it depends how the referee takes the situation and manages the game.”

Hooper has taken charge of 33 matches this season and issued 107 yellow cards and four red cards. He has officiated in two Fulham games in 2017-18, including a 1-1 draw with Reading in August when he sent off defender Tomas Kalas after only 39 seconds for a professional foul.

Preston are just one point outside the play-off places and their manager Alex Neil has told his players to take their home form “by the scruff of the neck” as they chase promotion.

Jokanovic said: “They are one of the more aggressive teams in the division and we must try and find our style and move the ball.”

Reports this week claimed Southampton have lined up Jokanovic on a shortlist of potential replacements for Mauricio Pellegrino if he is sacked at the end of the season.

Fulham have made real progress since he was appointed in December 2015 and it would come as little surprise if the Serb was on the radar of a Premier League club.

But Jokanovic has claimed he is not thinking about the speculation over his future and he is only focused on getting Fulham promoted.

The 49-year-old said: “I am so busy here and thinking about the game ahead with my team to be thinking about gossip and about other teams. I have enough here where I am right now and I must be focused.”

Fulham are fourth in the Championship, five points behind second-placed Cardiff, and Jokanovic wants his team to keep the pressure on their promotion rivals this weekend.

“We are satisfied now with our momentum but we cannot relax,” he said. “We have 10 games are ahead of us and we have not done anything at the moment. We must be brave, keep going and push hard.”

Source Giuseppe Muro at Evening Standard
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