Thirteenth bell looms ominously over Slavisa Jokanovic after Fulham’s defeat to Bournemouth​

Shahid Khan claimed he was “equal parts amused, astonished and disappointed” by the “sensational and fictional headlines related to Slavisa [Jokanovic]” during the week.

But as Fulham’s owner oversaw his side’s demoralising 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday there could be little in the way of astonishment. Nor could any vestige of amusement be drained from that trifecta. Only disappointment remained.

A somewhat tetchy Jokanovic echoed Khan’s comments after the game, stating that he shares a “fantastic personal relationship” with the owner while conceding that their bond will do little in buying him any extra favour after another inept defensive performance.


Premier League – Week 10 goals





1/14 Mohamed Salah vs Cardiff (1-0)

2/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (2-0) vs Cardiff

3/14 Callum Paterson (2-1) vs Liverpool

4/14 Xherdan Shaqiri vs Cardiff (3-1)

5/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (4-1)

6/14 Roberto Pereyra vs Huddersfield (1-0)

7/14 Gerard Deulofeu vs Huddersfield (2-0)

8/14 Isaac Success vs Huddersfield (3-0)

9/14 Callum Wilson vs Fulham (1-0)

10/14 Callum Wilson (2-0)

11/14 David Brooks (3-0)

12/14 Glenn Murray vs Wolves (1-0)

13/14 Fabian Balbuena vs Leicester (1-0)

14/14 Wilfred Ndidi vs Leicester (1-1)

1/14 Mohamed Salah vs Cardiff (1-0)

2/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (2-0) vs Cardiff

3/14 Callum Paterson (2-1) vs Liverpool

4/14 Xherdan Shaqiri vs Cardiff (3-1)

5/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (4-1)

6/14 Roberto Pereyra vs Huddersfield (1-0)

7/14 Gerard Deulofeu vs Huddersfield (2-0)

8/14 Isaac Success vs Huddersfield (3-0)

9/14 Callum Wilson vs Fulham (1-0)

10/14 Callum Wilson (2-0)

11/14 David Brooks (3-0)

12/14 Glenn Murray vs Wolves (1-0)

13/14 Fabian Balbuena vs Leicester (1-0)

14/14 Wilfred Ndidi vs Leicester (1-1)

“Our relationship is fantastic but he didn’t bring me here because I’m a good lad or something like this,” Jokanovic said. “He brings me here to win the games. This is my challenge, my work, and I’m ready for that. 

“It’s a professional relationship. He expects from my side – like all the supporters expect from my team – victories. It’s natural. He cannot be especially satisfied with our situation. I cannot be satisfied, like my players and the supporters.”

“I am extremely disappointed tonight.”

Jokanovic revealed that he had spent the entire week in training trying to eradicate the mindless errors which have consistently derailed Fulham this season, only for Timothy Fosu-Mensah to gracelessly barge Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson over in the box after just twelve minutes. 

“These mistakes kill us,” Jokanovic continued. “This level right now is really hard, really tough. Not only for Fulham but for a few teams in the Premier League.

“This is the highest level in England and it’s different pace, different strength. We need more energy, more aggression, more spring.

“At the end, it’s hard for me, for the board, supporters and our players but our solution is here. To be brave and keep going forward. 

Fulham travel to the John Smith’s Stadium next Monday to take on Huddersfield in what, even in November, has already been labelled a six-point game. Fulham are just two points clear of the Terriers, who are rooted to the bottom of the table and still await a first Premier League win.

Before joining the West London club, Jokanovic had successfully managed everywhere from Israel to Thailand. Only during one short stint in Sofia, Bulgaria has the emigre of the Eastern block become entirely unstuck. 

Jokanovic was sacked by Levski Sofia after thirteen games in 2013 and the pivotal trip to West Yorkshire next Monday will also be his thirteenth game in charge of Fulham in all competitions this week. To add to the ominous prophecy, club insiders reportedly decided that the Serbian had two games to rescue Fulham from their cascade towards relegation. 

Fans in Bulgaria were distraught when Jokanovic was dismissed believing he needed more time to resurrect his side in Sofia. Would that reaction be shared by Fulham’s supporters? 

It seemed to be that way in some respects as Craven Cottage hopefully bellowed support for their boss upon the opening whistle against the Cherries. But by the time Bournemouth’s third bustled the net, the only clapping was that of feet spilling out towards the River Thames. And those dregs which did remain served only to offer jeers and cries for a miracle.

Sadly, that is the swift and fickle descent from samaritan to charlatan, as the majority accept that unless the Serbian is set adrift, they all might well become beached on the riverbank.

Jokanovic called for bravery from his players after the defeat. The question really, as Shahid Khan’s moustache wilted into the shape of his grimace beneath on Saturday, is how much mettle can he afford to show his great friend. 

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