Fulham’s boss won’t thank us for saying his work on the pitch has more going for it than his inventive English.
‘Preparate’ anyone? It’s Slavisa Jokanovic’s way of describing how he gears up for a match, and more recently, it looks as if he’s on the right track in anybody’s language.
After a very real flirt with relegation, the manager was determined to make wholesale changes in the summer.
But the Serbian complained long and loud the club’s obsession with a statistics man who runs the rule over prospective new buys was causing problems.
Have you seen the movie Moneyball? If so, the Jonah Hill character who ticks boxes for a baseball side is as near as makes no difference to Craig Kline at Fulham.
He’s the American with the check list that thwarted a number of moves to leave Jokanovic wondering what he was going to start the season with.
As it turned out, the new faces, like London buses, arrived all at once and it took time for them to gel as you might expect with a total 32 ins and outs from June to the end of August.
A great August gave way to a stuttering September, and a so-so October before the last two weeks.
A thumping 5-0 win over third-place Huddersfield followed by a 2-0 derby win at Brentford have showed what Fulham are capable of.
Jokanovic ‘preparated’ the side to be more robust in defence than last season – and they are.
After all, they couldn’t be any worse. As the side with the third-worst goals conceded only the ball hitting the back of the net kept them in the division.
This time the cigarette smoking Jokanovic is lighting up with a clearer view to the tunnel's end.
Verdict? Fulham look far better drilled than this time last year, and if the evidence of the last two games is anything to go by, the manager could be headed for a second Championship success to follow up what he did for Watford in 2014-15.