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Fulham and the five major talking points from defeat to Middlesbrough

It all goes south on a bitterly cold day when Whites are frozen out by a Boro outfit stamping their credentials on their promotion push

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Extra man: Ryan Tunnicliffe

Fulham’s fell to a 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on Saturday thanks to goals from Albert Adomah and Grant Leadbitter.

The first, a completely unmarked header, was symbolic of the Whites’ issues this season and was compounded by a sloppy tackle which led to the second.

Jokanovic tried to change his system to nullify the visitors, but the hosts struggled all day against the most deadly front four in the league.

Here are five things we learned.

Fulham’s defensive woes continue

After beating Charlton 3-0 last weekend, there was a lingering feeling that the Whites dodged a bullet after a poor start.

Fulham repeated their sluggish start this time around however, to lethal effect - the visitors were 2-0 up before they could recover.

Top Championship teams will punish such starts, and the Cottagers cannot afford to make a habit out of it.

Jokanovic is happy to shake things up

The Fulham manager has preferred a 3-5-2 formation since taking over at Craven Cottage.

But he showed he was happy to play each match on its merits, switching Moussa Dembele out for Ryan Tunnicliffe in midfield.

Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out in his favour, but the Whites have lacked a flexible tactician since their relegation.

ALVARO ISIDORO/AFP/Getty Images
Hope: Zakaria Labyad

Zakaria Labyad could be a decent acquisition

The Netherlands-born winger came on a second half substitute and played a contribution - albeit a small one.

One moment saw him pick up the ball on the edge of his box and play a direct, low pass into the path of Moussa Dembele - who nearly created a goalscoring opportunity.

He could prove a useful squad option for the Whites, but it will be interesting to see if he can adapt to the Championship before the end of the season.

Jokanovic needs more options in defence

The Fulham boss was forced to play an out-of-form Richard Stearman to replace the suspended Fernando Amorebieta - sent off in midweek.

To further compound his issues, Stearman received an 86th minute red card when he brought down Jordan Rhodes on the halfway line.

Fulham needed better options in defence before the plethora of suspensions, and will be desperate to see Amorebieta back.

The summer transfer window will also come as a huge relief.

End of season, please?

The Whites will be desperate to end the season - with only the threat of relegation to ‘look forward’ to this season.

Jokanovic is clearly the right choice for the Whites - but without a transfer window to manoeuvre, he has had to deal with players who don’t ideally match his 3-5-2 system.

Fulham fans know a full season under Jokanovic will be full of promise but that seems far away while the threat of relegation still lingers.

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