London (AFP) – Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic may have spent over £100 million ($127 million, 111 million euros) on new players since gaining promotion to the Premier League but he says even they will have to prove worthy of a first team spot.
“I’m not Santa Claus — there are no presents,” Jokanovic told a press conference on Friday on the eve of their opener with fellow London side Crystal Palace.
“The players need to fight for their places,” the 49-year-old said.
“We’ve made a great investment in the transfer market and I’m hoping we’ll see an immediate benefit.”
Fulham’s American owner Shahid Khan — who has tabled a £600million pound bid to buy Wembley Stadium — sanctioned spending big with the likes of highly-rated Ivory Coast midfielder Jean-Michael Seri as the London club return to the Premier League after a four year hiatus.
However, Jokanovic — a former defensive midfielder who was capped 64 times — sought to lower expectations of how competitive Fulham will be.
“We arrived last in the Premier League (through the play-offs), so our principal target has to be to stay up,” said Jokanovic, who in his previous job in England guided Watford to promotion to the Premier League but then left.
“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.
“It’s important to show ambition and desire to stay up — that’s our first target.
“We’re building a team to be competitive at this level.”