Stearman Upbeat

Monday 4 January 2016 10:23

Richard Stearman feels Fulham can ‘look ahead with great optimism’ following the appointment of Slaviša Jokanović as Head Coach.

Jokanović took charge of the Whites for the first time on Saturday, but saw a Ross Wallace wonder strike win it for visiting Sheffield Wednesday at the Cottage.

While frustrated by the result, Stearman insists there were positives to take, believing a strong defensive display bodes well for the future.

“The result obviously wasn’t the one we wanted,” he told the official website. “We had a lot of possession without maybe being clinical enough. They’ve scored an absolute worldie but not really had too many other chances. We were pleased with how we shut them out, but disappointed as a team that we couldn’t find the back of the net.

“They were hard to break down, they got into shape well and we just didn’t move the ball quick enough at times.

“The Head Coach has only been in the door a few days but it’s going to be interesting to see the changes he makes and the way he wants us to play. I think you saw on Saturday that we looked more solid and we look ahead with great optimism now.”

Jokanović deployed a change of formation for his first team selection, fielding Sakari Mattila in a holding midfield position just in front of the back four. It resulted in Fulham dominating play with nearly 70 per cent possession.

“At times this season we’ve been quite open and easy to play against,” explained Stearman. “That’s great when we’re scoring lots of goals but it can leave you exposed at the back. The idea against Sheffield Wednesday was for Sakari to screen the back four and give us a bit more protection and I thought he did that well.

“We limited them to one worldie strike and Lonners [Andrew Lonergan] has pulled off one or two saves but in the main we’ve defended well. It’s just disappointing we couldn’t get a goal at the other end.”

Fulham have an immediate chance to avenge the loss against the Owls when they head to Hillsborough on Saturday for the Third Round of the FA Cup.

Stearman added: “We want to win games as it breeds confidence and becomes a habit. They’ve done the double on us this season in the league so we’ll be looking to go there and get a bit of revenge and progress in the cup.”

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