Slaviša Jokanović progresses to Wembley

By FootballBosses reporters

Fulham have progressed to the play-off after a 2-0 victory over Derby at Craven Cottage last night. Jokanović’s side overcame a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to avoid the same fate as last season; defeat in the semi-finals.

This is only Jokanović’s second full season in charge at Craven Cottage. The Serbian was appointed just after Christmas in 2015 and managed to maintain Fulham’s Championship status, avoiding the drop comfortably by 11 points. From then, the club has gone from strength to strength, achieving a play-off spot last year following a 2-1 victory on the final day. A final was a step too far, however, as they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Reading.

This year sees a role reversal for Jokanović and Fulham; they finished 3rd, only just missing out on automatic promotion to Neil Warnock’s Cardiff. Fulham again saw a 2-1 aggregate score in the semi-final, this time in their favour. They came into the second leg one down, but second half goals from potential England wildcard Ryan Sessegnon and Denis Odoi saw Fulham fans jubilant, with a trip to Wembley now beckoning on the 26th May.

Even more impressively, they become only the second side in 17 Championship play-off ties to overcome a first leg loss to progress. Jokanović must take credit for the motivation he has continued to give his side. After missing out on automatic promotion, despite an unbeaten 23 game run towards the end of the season, it will have been a huge blow for all involved with the London side. To get the side going again and produce a turnaround after a poor first leg is an impressive feat.

This will be Fulham’s first visit to Wembley in 43 years, with the previous meeting ending in an FA Cup final lose to West Ham. Motivation and mentality will no longer be an issue; with only one game between a return to the Premier League, three seasons after their last appearance.