They were the better side
Fulham boss Slavişa Jokanović saw his side get off the mark in the Premier League, following up two defeats with a 4-2 win against Burnley yesterday.
“We played well today,” he said. “We must work hard daily at the training ground and look for our best performance. We played bravely, we showed ambition to score the goals, we showed ambition to push forward and look for a second and third and fourth.
“The fourth goal, from my point of view, arrived a little bit late for us. Between the third and fourth we had many chances to finish the game off, but fortunately we scored the goal and killed the game.”
“I made five changes this afternoon. Those eleven players I chose today performed really well. We must immediately show a desire to work hard and push together to try and be at our highest level for the next game.
“I try to find the best solution to win the game. Sometimes the plan works, sometimes it doesn’t work. We are not kids, this is the highest level of professional football. We must show humility, push hard and fight. This kind of performance encourages me, my team, the people in the stands.”
Sean Dyche was honest enough in his appraisal. “They were the better side for most, if not all of the game,” he said. “There were signs that they have invested the £100 million well. Some of their pockets of play were very good and they got off with a good goal.
“It’s hard to question the players too much for that and we reacted well and got a good goal through Jeff. I’m pleased for him because he’s been a bit of a shining light for us with his performances. But then we gave away two awful goals, very quickly. After getting another back we were still in it and we remodelled it slightly at half time with Jόhann going off. But I never try to call it anything other than honest and today they were the better side.”
He added: “We didn’t find the quality and I know these players. I see them in training and the quality they have in the front third and today we were not using our quality. The bravest part of football is the front third and that’s where you need the moments of quality and the clever play and movement and belief. We have to work on that, but while you are doing that you have to keep the back door shut and we didn’t do that well enough either. If you get those two things wrong, it doesn’t bode well.
“They were braver than us in the front third and their centre forward was the best player on the pitch. That’s helpful of course, but he was the best player by a long shot.
“They played a way I want to and that was effective. They stretched us when they had to and played when they could and that’s certainly what we’ve been working towards all these years, although there weren’t too many signs of it today.
“We know the challenges around us and we knew all about the noises outside the club about the Europa League and how that is going to challenge us. It is difficult for the players because they have been bombarded with negatives about the challenge it presents, but we have to see beyond that and the players need to understand that today, that’s dropping below our levels and we have to get back up to them because we are a good side, as we showed last season.”
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