‘Perfect start’ thrills Fulham boss Jokanovic as Londoners celebrate putting a spoke in Newcastle’s Championship plans

Fulham's Floyd Ayite causes problems for Newcastle's Jack Colback and Jamaal Lascelles last night
Fulham's Floyd Ayite causes problems for Newcastle's Jack Colback and Jamaal Lascelles last night
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Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic revelled in a “perfect start” to the Championship season, as his men rose to the opening night occasion to beat promotion favourites Newcastle United.

Former Leeds and OIdham striker Matt Smith’s header, from a Tom Cairney corner, right on half-time ensured victory.

Jokanovic, the former Watford boss, enthused on fulhamfc.com: “It’s a great result for us, a perfect start for us.

“I was very pleased, we played like a real football team; really organised, playing all together, suffering all together. And this is good news in my opinion.

“If we follow this way, then we can think about having a better season than we’ve had in the last few years.

“We played against Newcastle, one of the favourites to get back to the Premier League, and my team were exceptionally good physically, tactically. Newcastle is a very big team with an experienced coach.

“My team did very well in pre-season and they showed that they know what they have to do on the field. We played a very good game with the ball and when we had to suffer during the game, we suffered as a team.

“Generally, I was very happy with this game, but in front of us is a fight for 135 points, and we have to be ready for Tuesday’s game against Leyton Orient (in the EFL Cup) and for the next league game against Preston.

“Against Preston we have another chance to fight for three points, and we have to be ready for both games which are in front of us.”

Fulham revelled in a rare clean sheet – they managed just four all last season.

Jokanovic added: “It’s important for us. We’ve had difficulties finding clean sheets last season, (last night) we made a clean sheet and it’s great news for us.”