Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Slavisa Jokanovic has faced plenty of criticism despite guiding the yellow-and-blue to the Champions League group stage and to first place in the Premier League standings..
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Maccabi Tel Aviv may be leading the Premier League standings and playing in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 11 years, but that hasn’t helped coach Slavisa Jokanovic avoid constant criticism.
Such are the expectations from the three-time defending champ that winning is no longer necessarily deemed good enough.
After dominating the local scene in recent years, Maccabi needs to win in style in order for its coach to receive recognition, especially when he is a foreigner without local contacts.
Jokanovic doesn’t seem to be affected by his doubters, but surely he must be fed up of having his methods questioned time and again, especially with Maccabi entering Saturday’s Premier League match at Hapoel Kfar Saba on the back of a four-game winning streak, triumphing in seven of its past eight matches.
Maccabi reestablished a two point lead over Hapoel Beersheba after beating Bnei Yehuda 4-0, and another emphatic victory should at least silence Jokanovic’s critics for a few more days.
To his credit, Jokanovic may well be his harshest critic.
“I was very happy after the game against Bnei Yehuda, but not for the whole week,” he said on Thursday. “Now we have a new game and we have to get ready for that. Memories don’t exist in football.”
Beersheba, which has won six of seven games, visits Bnei Sakhnin earlier Saturday.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva, Hapoel Acre visits Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda welcomes Hapoel Ra’anana.
Beitar Jerusalem hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Sunday, with Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Haifa to meet in a Monday derby.