Slavisa Jokanovic backed to lead Fulham into the Premier League

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 03 August 2017, 14:30

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Slavisa Jokanovic and Fulham ahead of the 2017/18 Championship season.

Background

Fulham were most people’s idea of the best team in the division towards the end of last season but tensions have resurfaced between Slavisa Jokanovic and the recruitment department led by American data analyst Craig Kline. The Serbian was equally frustrated by the same process that held him back 12 months ago but the Cottagers were mostly outstanding from October onwards. In the last 16 rounds, they picked up five more points than any other team but lost their mojo when it mattered most in the play-offs against Reading.

Personality

Jokanovic has cited Brian Clough as an idol during childhood and it’s easy to recognise that influence in the type of football Fulham played last season, although there’s definitely a pragmatic side judging by his time at Watford. The Serbian is an advocate of talent and will work tirelessly to bring the best out of players with unfulfilled potential. He communicates with individuals at a deeper level than most, tapping into inner desires more than motivating on a superficial level. His manner can be truly inspirational.

Quote

"I can't say anything about recruitment, it is not in my hands. But I expect the club to bring me more material and I’m really motivated to work with my players and make the team more competitive. If we want to be better, we need to build and bring quality into our squad. At the moment, I don't see my team at the highest level, like we were last season, but (eventually) I expect quality players who can help us to be better than we were last season."

Verdict

August is going to be a crucial month for Fulham because underachieving promotion rivals will soon come circling for Jokanovic if they sense he isn’t happy. However, assuming the recruitment team come up with the goods and deliver the Serbian with the depth and quality he requires, he can be trusted to build on last season’s blistering finish and get them cruising sooner. Last season’s performance data was extraordinary and the Cottagers will take some stopping if that can be replicated.

Prediction: automatic promotion

Slavisa Jokanovic

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