Fulham v Crystal Palace preview: Slavisa Jokanovic plays down expectations
Last Updated: 12/08/18 7:40am
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has tempered expectations at Craven Cottage, insisting his side's primary goal is to survive in the Premier League ahead of their season opener with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Cottagers, who returned to the top flight by beating Aston Villa in last season's Championship play-off final, have spent £100m over the summer in bringing 12 players to the club.
However, the Serb urged caution ahead of Saturday's home clash with Palace.
"We arrived last in the Premier League, so our principal target has to be to stay up," he said.
"I prefer walking step by step. It's better for us to think in this way and we will see at the end of the season what our level is."
Opposite number Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, says he is happy with his club's business in the summer transfer window.
"I think we have enough players now including a couple that have come back off loans, Jonny Williams and Sullay Kaikai, which further expands the squad and Scott Dann is making tremendous progress," said the Palace boss, who signed a new two-year deal on Friday.
"So we should have a more than big enough squad of players and most importantly of all, we have kept those players who did so well for us last season after such a bad start and helped us to such a decent finish in the league."
Fulham will be without both Tim Ream and new signing Alfie Mawson, with the centre-back sidelined until September after having a knee operation, while Dennis Odoi is suspended.
However, the Cottagers are likely to hand a number of summer signings their Premier League debuts, including club-record buy Jean Michael Seri and Germany winger Andre Schurrle.
Meanwhile, Palace are also set to field new boys Cheikhou Kouyate, Vicente Guaita and Jordan Ayew at the Cottage.
But Hodgson confirmed Max Meyer will not feature after having not played competitively since April, with the German "needing a bit more work" before he's ready. The midfielder is hoping to make his debut later this month, while defender Scott Dann is still a few weeks away from full fitness.
And both Jonny Williams and Connor Wickham miss out through injury.
- This will be the fifth Premier League meeting between Fulham and Palace, with the Cottagers losing just the first of those games, 0-2 away in October 2004 (W2 D1)
- Overall in league meetings, Fulham have suffered just one defeat in their last eight games against the Eagles, winning five and drawing two
- Each of the last three meetings between Fulham and Palace at Craven Cottage has seen exactly four goals scored, with Fulham winning 3-1 in October 2000 and January 2005, before a 2-2 draw in May 2014
- Fulham have the lowest win rate in Premier League London derby matches, winning 25 of their 118 so far (21 per cent). Palace have the second lowest win rate in these games (19/86 - 22%)
- Fulham are unbeaten on the last 12 occasions they've started a league season at home (W8 D4), since a 1-2 loss against Tranmere in the third tier in 1989-90
It all depends on how Wilfried Zaha performs as he makes all the difference. I don't think they won a football game without him last year, so Palace will have done well to keep hold of him.
This is a real benchmark for Fulham early on, playing a team that struggled last season but are better than what they were.
I'm going to go for a draw, but if I had to pick a winner it would be Palace.
PAUL PREDICTS 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)