Fulham now harder to beat, says Aluko

Fulham's Sone Aluko (right) and Crystal Palace's Jason Puncheon battle for the ball

Striker Sone Aluko says Fulham are being drilled in pre-season to become more organised and harder to beat – and believes their work is already paying off.

Aluko – one of eight signings made this summer by Whites boss Slavisa Jokanovic – scored the opening goal in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, the last friendly before they open their Championship campaign on Friday against Newcastle.

Fulham have conceded 247 goals in 130 league games over the last three seasons, a huge concern for Jokanovic, and Aluko revealed what the players had been asked to do to tighten up.

He said: “The manager has been very disciplined with us and telling us how he wants us to play and getting that point across to us.

“I’ve only played in one formation – we’ve worked on it a lot, breaking teams down, how to press and how to get the ball back and it’s shown in our results, in our organisation and that’s why we’ve kept so many clean sheets [in pre-season].”

Hounslow-born Aluko, brother of Chelsea Ladies forward Eni, also said he had been earmarked for a role behind the central striker in Jokanovic’s new formation.

“One of the reasons I came to Fulham is because he wanted to play me in what I call my natural position [number 10] and what suits my game,” Aluko said.

“In pre-season, I think that has shown – I’ve been gelling with the strikers and the midfield and we’ve got a good understanding.

“It doesn’t have to be number 10 – obviously that’s the position the manager wants me to play but some games I’ll play wide, some games I’ll play through the middle – I’m flexible.

“This season I just want play as many games as I can – last season I didn’t play anywhere near as many games as I wished to play and I was fit – I’m fit now.”