Slavisa Jokanovic: It is the players fault Fulham are bottom of the Premier League, not mine

The Serbian is believed to be on the brink of the sack after losing six successive games

Ian Baker
Friday 09 November 2018 18:31
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Fulham 2018/19 Premier League profile

Slavisa Jokanovic insists his players, and not himself, are to blame for Fulham’s poor run of form that leaves them bottom of the Premier League.

The under pressure head coach is battling to save his job in the wake of five straight defeats and his latest remarks are likely to do little to help him in that regard.

In an amazing outburst, the Serbian attacked his players for not trying hard enough and following his instructions following the defeat to Huddersfield Town on Monday night.

Next, Fulham make the difficult trip to Liverpool on Sunday and Jokanovic said: “They need to change the body language. They are professional. I don’t defend a corner, I don’t press any players. I don’t run into the space. I am working for them so they can do this and be available for this kind of situation.

“To be honest, after the Huddersfield game, I told them: ‘Listen, I am great, I’m a fantastic coach.’ I did a fantastic job with my staff and the analysts because everything we expected, we found it during the game.

“If you check the game, they pressed us with seven players. We had a situation three against three 25 times. We did not stay with any ball, we did not run the space, we must run the space. We were not available for second phase.

“We are not showing enough effort or ambition and we must change this. If we are jogging on the field and people think we will get a present, this is the wrong way and we must show more effort. If we are confused, scared and play like kids, it’s not easy for any team.

“Last game we chose an ugly way to lose the game. You must be proud, competitive and fight at the last moment and make extra effort and same or more effort of the opposition.

Slavisa Jokanovic is now under intense scrutiny at Fulham

“We are right now not showing this quality or effort, we must wake up and when we lose the game we must know how we lost it, we can not sell our skin so cheap, if we are available for battle we must show it.

“I give the people time for adaptation and for making step forward, now it’s time for them to understand that we don’t have the time for waiting for some miracle. I know they feel a little hurt after my words but they must be adult people and take responsibility because I cannot score the goal and I can’t defend.”

Last month Fulham defender Tim Ream was critical of his side’s “lack of fight”, a matter that Jokanovic did not dispute at the time.

Yet the 50-year-old is adamant that a new manager will not help matters and regardless his players should play for their own pride and families rather than the man in charge.

“Nobody will arrive from outside of this dressing room to find the solution,” he said. “Right now, the situation is in my hands and in the hands of my players. We must take our responsibility and push all together in the right direction.

“I never played for any coach, I always play for myself, my family, my team-mates, the fans,” he said. “This is what they must understand and they must start working in this direction. I don’t need anyone to fight for me. If they are adult people they need to fight for themselves and for their family, for the club and push strong and hard for a solution.

“I am working many years with this team, the board of the club know how I am working, they know I never surrender, I am never scared about different speculation about this. I am really not happy going any place, any stadium, and be victim and not have an opportunity to win the game.

“Give me an opportunity to win by being brave and pushing hard and independent of the result you will make me proud and make yourself, and your family, and yourself, proud too.

Slavisa Jokanovic was coy on his future after losing to Huddersfield

“My job at the end of the day is to organise the team, it’s not screaming all the time at people to make them run and sprint and attack the space.”

Jokanovic raised doubt over his future following the Huddersfield game but refused to directly comment on the matter ahead of the Liverpool game.

“I am here and we are not talking about my future, we are talking about my present,” he said. “The target is to show improvement and be more competitive and win the games.”

“In the press there are many different names but right now, where we are in bottom of the Premier League, this speculation is normal situation for all the coaches in this situation. I don’t have the time to gossip, it’s part of the country and I’m not surprised.”

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