Fulham boss discusses Sessegnon speculation

Date published: Thursday 10th May 2018 2:28

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic will not let transfer speculation over Ryan Sessegnon distract his side’s play-off campaign.

The Cottagers are preparing for a two-legged semi-final with Derby, the first leg at Pride Park on Friday, with the prize of a shot at Premier League football on offer.

Teenage sensation Sessegnon has been a major part of the Cottagers’ successful season and French club Paris St Germain are the latest side to be linked with him this summer.

But Jokanovic will not shift focus ahead of an important four days, with the second leg at Craven Cottage on Monday night.

“I have answered many times this question,” he said.

“I am focused on our present, this is more important to us, at the same time Ryan is focused to trying to make the best performance he can.

“In these two games ahead of us, we are not thinking how worried we are about Ryan Sessegnon’s future, we are only thinking about this challenge and what is the best way to win the game.

“Yesterday we were talking about Real Madrid, two days ago it was Manchester United. This is more or less a normal situation for us.”

Fulham, who are at full strength, go into the play-offs with an undesirable record, having not won any of their previous six semi-final ties, while also seeing a 23-game unbeaten run end on the final day of the regular season last Sunday.

That defeat at Birmingham cost them any chance of usurping Cardiff to win automatic promotion but the Serbian insists his side are in fine fettle.

“We have been confident this week and we are ready,” he said.

“Our season was fantastic, nobody believed us that we are going to be in the position to fight for the Premier League in December.

“Now we are in the situation with three games ahead of us, we have great confidence and we have a great chance to be in the Premier League.

“When the game starts everything depends on how the players will perform and how we are going to play on the pitch, the statistic is part of the history.”

Derby sealed their top-six place on the final day of the season and finished 15 points behind Fulham over the course of 46 games.

And that is why boss Gary Rowett has the London side as firm favourites and is happy to play the underdog card.

“Fulham are the favourites, if you look at the odds, because they have had a tremendous season and they have been in a great run of form,” he said.

“We are the least fancied if you look at the odds, but I think that suits us in some ways. Maybe that gives us something to prove.

“People talk about Derby and this sort of weight of expectation that always floats around and follows the club.

“Maybe this is the first time we have been in the play offs in recent years when there is no expectation and where we can go out and give it everything without having any real fears.”

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