As was his mantra in the Championship, Slaviša Jokanović is refusing to look further ahead than the next match.
In his first press conference of the season, the Fulham Head Coach was asked how high he thinks his side can finish.
“Our principal target is to stay up,” he answered. “This is a famous question from the press, where are we going to finish, and we haven’t even started yet.
“I prefer working step by step, all of us will have more information after the first game and it is better for us to think this way.
“At the end of the season we will see our level and where we can improve for the future.
“It is very exciting, a great experience for us, my first experience of coaching at this level. It’s probably a dream for all coaches to have this opportunity, and I’m going to push to be successful.”
A fine summer transfer window saw the Club add 12 players to the ranks, something Jokanović felt was necessary going into the impending campaign.
“We are trying to build a Premier League team,” he explained. “We will try to be competitive at this level.
“We came third in the Championship, we were the last team to get promoted, and on our side it is important to show ambition and desire, to be competitive and spend the money to bring players who can help us.
“It is normal, the Club detected we needed to adapt the team, make investment. The Khan family made a great investment in this team, and I expect these additions to make us more competitive at this level.”
The new arrivals have given Jokanović a welcome selection headache, and he assured fans that nobody will simply waltz into his starting XI.
“I am not Santa Claus, I don’t need to make anybody happy,” he stated. “I try to make it hard, with great competition between my players.
“This is one of the most competitive leagues in the world and presents don’t exist, they need to fight in training.
“I will give them the chance to compete to play in the Premier League. My job stops at 11 [players] and the bench, this is my job, people pay me to make these decisions.
“Tomorrow first of all I cannot use Denis Odoi, he is suspended. Alfie Mawson still hasn’t started working with us, and probably Tim Ream is injured too, so I can’t use him either.”
Our first Premier League match in over four years sees Crystal Palace journey across South London to the Cottage, and Jokanović is expecting a difficult test against Roy Hodgson’s well organised team.
“I am excited,” he said. “It is a chance to fight for three points, and at the end of the game our target is always the same – to try to win the games and we will see with the result whether I will be satisfied.
“Crystal Palace is a Premier League ready team, definitely with more experience than us at this level.
“They know they are dangerous in this offensive side, between [Christian] Benteke, [Wilfried] Zaha and [Andros] Townsend.
“On the other side, we must care about [Luka] Milivojević too, who is a good player. Many things depend on this guy, we did analysis of this team and I hope that we are ready.
“We must be clever and modify a few things, we are going to play against different qualities, different pace, different power.
“We don’t need to change too much, but enough to know what we are going to find in this competition. It is always important that we grow, and we need to grow up from last season.”
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