English Premiership

'I'm not Santa Claus' says Fulham's Jokanovic

2018-08-10 17:35
Slavisa Jokanovic
Slavisa Jokanovic (Getty Images)

London - Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic may have spent over £100 million on new players since gaining promotion to the Premier League but he says even they will have to prove worthy of a first team spot.

"I'm not Santa Claus - there are no presents," Jokanovic told a press conference on Friday on the eve of their opener with fellow London side Crystal Palace.

"The players need to fight for their places," the 49-year-old said.

"We've made a great investment in the transfer market and I'm hoping we'll see an immediate benefit."

Fulham's American owner Shahid Khan - who has tabled a £600 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium - sanctioned spending big with the likes of highly-rated Ivory Coast midfielder Jean-Michael Seri as the London club return to the Premier League after a four year hiatus.

However, Jokanovic - a former defensive midfielder who was capped 64 times - sought to lower expectations of how competitive Fulham will be.

"We arrived last in the Premier League (through the play-offs), so our principal target has to be to stay up," said Jokanovic, who in his previous job in England guided Watford to promotion to the Premier League but then left.

"I prefer walking step by step. It's better for us to think in this way and we will see at the end of the season what our level is.

"It's important to show ambition and desire to stay up - that's our first target.

"We're building a team to be competitive at this level."

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Friday, 10 August 2018
Manchester United v Leicester City, Old Trafford 21:00
Saturday, 11 August 2018
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, St. James' Park 13:30
Fulham v Crystal Palace, Craven Cottage 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Cardiff City, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton, Molineux Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 12 August 2018
Liverpool v West Ham United, Anfield 14:30
Southampton v Burnley, St. Mary's Stadium 14:30
Arsenal v Manchester City, Emirates Stadium 17:00
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