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Fulham’s Premier League return will either be breathtakingly good or spectacularly bad

Fulham have a clear attacking identity under Slavisa Jokanovic, but how will it hold against the rigours of Premier League football?

When Neil Warnock described Fulham as ‘the Man City of the Championship’, he certainly wasn’t talking about their spending power.

Fulham spent around £20million this season but offset that with £17mil worth of sales, according to Transfermarkt.

Within those deals the Cottagers continued their proud tradition of spending big on a flop of a striker, as Rui Fonte followed in the footsteps of Steve Marlet, Andy Johnson and Kostas Mitroglou.


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£11.5million well spent

Reuters
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£11.5million well spent

No, when Colin likened Fulham to City he was talking solely about their *Brendan Rodgers voice* philosophy.

As a Fulham fan I’ve sat and marvelled at Slavisa Jokanovic’s impact on the club’s style of play, particularly this season.

Marcus Bettinelli refuses to kick long, Tim Ream and Denis Odoi split allowing Ryan Fredricks and Matt Targett to push up high and wide.

Ream in particular deserves massive credit for his continued willingness to take the ball in areas most centre-backs have nightmares about.

It’s not a Fulham phase of play if Ream doesn’t come under massive pressure before dropping a shoulder or executing a Cruyff turn to screams of ‘REAAAMMMMMMMM’ from the Craven Cottage crowd.

Reamiesta

PA:Press Association
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Reamiesta

Kevin McDonald lopes from side to side to create an angle for the defenders to play out, with Stefan Johansen buzzing around to pull the opposition out of space.

Tom Cairney is the man everything revolves around, equally adept at dictating from deep as he is being the focal point in the final third.

All this allows Ryan Sessegnon to make the most of his excellent movement and first-time finishing, while Aleksandar Mitrovic’s brutal hold-up play has been the final piece of Jokanovic’s puzzle.

In short, it doesn’t take an xG wizard to identify Fulham’s clear pattern of play. Anyone who’s watched Fulham this season would have seen the same, unwavering commitment to pass and receive.

Which is why Fulham’s Premier League return, after four years in the Championship wilderness, will be so intriguing to watch.

I say that from a completely biased viewpoint, and I don’t necessarily mean Fulham will be wowing their way to Champions League football next season.


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Take a look at Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle’s campaigns. All three promoted sides maintained their Premier League status with functional tactics.

Jokanovic won’t be doing the same at Fulham next season.

Hero

PA:Press Association
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Hero

Whether brave or naive, Jokanovic will ask Fulham’s players to trust his ideals.

The tight pitch of Craven Cottage is suited to Jokanovic’s tactics but the vast, sprawling expanses of Old Trafford and The Emirates will prove a different proposition.

All the arrivals in the summer will have to buy in to Jokanovic’s way of playing straight away or risk sitting on the sidelines.

It’s potentially going to be chaos. But embracing the chaos sometimes brings brilliant results, as Liverpool’s Champions League campaign has shown.

So buckle up and bring your armbands. It’s going to be an eventful ride down by the Thames.


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