Fulham boss insists his promotion-chasing side will not take Sunderland lightly tonight

Josh Maja scores the winner the last time the two sides met.
Josh Maja scores the winner the last time the two sides met.
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Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic will not take Sunderland lightly in tonight’s must-win Sky Bet Championship clash.

The Londoners go into the penultimate weekend of the season in third place, a point behind Cardiff in the race to join Wolves in clinching automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Fulham can put the pressure on the Bluebirds by beating the relegated Black Cats at Craven Cottage (7.45pm), before Cardiff visit Hull tomorrow.

Jokanovic is also keen to avenge the 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light in December, the last league defeat endured by Fulham.

“Sunderland is a team that beat us last time, we have experience of losing against them,” Jokanovic told fulhamfc.com. “But we are ready for any team and any situation.

“They will come here relaxed and want to make the Sunderland fans satisfied.

“They will try and be proud and fight for the Sunderland crest.

“This can be a very dangerous situation for us and we must be ready.

“If we are focused enough, we’ll have the chance to win the game. We are quiet, we are relaxed, we are focused. We’re preparing for the Sunderland game no different to others.

“We know how tough the Championship is and that we must be ready for any club and any situation.

“We’re going to go into the game with the right mentality, ambition and desire to win.

“We are going to push and try to find our best performance to finish the game with three points.”

Cardiff lost at Derby in midweek, missing the chance to go four points clear of Fulham.

Jokanovic added: “I’d prefer to change my position with Cardiff’s position. They are in a perfect moment, they are one point ahead of us.

“If it was possible I would prefer to swap and be in second, and I’d prefer they were chasing us. That’s not the case.

“What I’d prefer is impossible, what we are going to do is try and catch them, but without help from Cardiff’s side, it’s completely impossible for us.

“We must try and do our job. We cannot think about what is going to happen later and if Cardiff are going to be under pressure or not. This is not under my control.

“We have positive pressure before we play against Sunderland. It’s important we don’t make mistakes, but the situation is completely under Cardiff’s control. If they win these two games we cannot do anything.

“In front of us is two ways of being successful; one is short [top two], another is longer [the play-offs]. We must be ready for both ways.”

“If you don’t finish second – which is more or less normal for us because we’ve never been in this position during this year – you must be brave, do your job, and see what happens.