Fulham must be ‘ready for everything’ at Etihad – Jokanovic

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic insists his side will be ready to tackle Premier League champions Manchester City head-on at the Etihad Stadium.

The Cottagers resume domestic action on Saturday with arguably the most testing fixture of the top-flight campaign.

Jokanovic, though, sees no reason why the newly-promoted side, unbeaten in their last three competitive matches before the international break, should not head north with a positive mindset.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I said it’s one of the most difficult games for a team who’s recently been promoted from the Championship to the Premier League,” Jokanovic said at a press conference.

“We know how they play the football, we know it’s not easy to play at the Etihad.

“From another side, we interpret it as an exciting game. We’re not giving up before kick-off or anything like that.

“We were fighting for this kind of chance, and we must be ready for the fight, we must be ready for everything we’re going to find there.

“We must be ready to work off the ball, we must show humility and solidarity, and try and be at our highest level to have the opportunity to hurt them.”

If Fulham are to get anything out of the encounter, however, Jokanovic has warned the whole squad needs to remain switched on, having thrown away a 2-0 lead to draw at Brighton in their last outing.

“It’s not a question about individual mistakes, we need to set up better. I really care about our positional play, if we are not in good positions mistakes arrive,” he said.

“I don’t need to explain to my players when they miss passes or if they don’t cross well. They need to improve these things, but I must give them a clear plan on how to play their football.

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“I am not focused on individual mistakes and I am not surprised that at the beginning of the Premier League we have made mistakes, but this team is new.

“Some of these players need to know each other and have some kind of understanding of the family way of working with the team.

“Individual mistakes exist and I don’t believe we will completely avoid them. In football mistakes exist, but I really care about our quantity of mistakes.”

Jokanovic confirmed midfielder Neeskens Kebano, defender Tim Ream and captain Tom Cairney would all remain unavailable to face City.

Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli earned a call-up to the senior England squad for the Nations League match against Spain and friendly with Switzerland.

The 26-year-old could, according to reports, be set for a new deal with Fulham.

“Marcus Bettinelli has been with the club many years and at the end I believe this is natural step for the player and for the club,” Jokanovic said.

Press Association