Slavisa Jokanovic has warned Cardiff that Fulham are “desperate” for victory on Saturday — but not because he fears for his job as manager.
Hosts Cardiff will pursue their first win of the Premier League season against their fellow strugglers and in the knowledge that, should they do so, they could climb out of the relegation zone at Fulham’s expense.
A total of two points from eight games means Neil Warnock’s team has already been widely dismissed as certainties for relegation, but where there was once optimism surrounding Jokanovic’s side, the Serbian knows they need to build consistency and momentum.
Saturday’s fixture between the two promoted sides is the first of three for Fulham in the league – they then play Bournemouth and Huddersfield – that could transform their fortunes, and while dismissing the prospect of feeling pressure, Jokanovic recognises the significance of securing three points.
It was reported during the international break that the 50-year-old is at risk of the sack unless results swiftly improve, but he insists he has not sought assurances from Fulham’s hierarchy about his future.
Knocking on the table in front of him to imitate doing so on an office door, Jokanovic cut a relaxed figure as he said: “I don’t have the time to go and knock and ask ‘Do you support me or not?’
“I’m focused on those immediately around me; I need to organise how they’re going to work. I need to work with the team, fighting, and find the solution, and that’s it.
“I’m focused on my business. You’ll have to ask in a different office if they support (me).
“This is part of this profession. I believe in myself and my staff and I believe in the players I’m working with. I don’t have to time to think about these things or for crying about my situation.
“This is part of this business; I must manage these kinds of situations, nothing more. There’s nothing tragic in my life – I am really satisfied in my life and with my job. I’m strong and brave enough to keep going and trust in myself and my players.”
Asked if last-placed Cardiff would be desperate for victory, he responded: “We are desperate to win too. This is football. At the end we consider it another great opportunity for us to fight for three points and I believe they will be thinking similar to us.”
Joe Bryan and the influential Tom Cairney remain Fulham’s only significant absentees, given Timothy Fosu-Mensah could yet be available following a dislocated shoulder.