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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker: Fulham is in a good place

last updated Thursday 18th June 2020, 7:48 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker

Scott Parker
Scott Parker
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Fulham boss Scott Parker addressed the media in isolated circumstances on Thursday afternoon.

Sitting on his own in the Communications Office at Motspur Park, Parker joined an online video meeting with journalists ahead of the Championship restart on Saturday.

“It’s different,” the Fulham Head Coach admitted. “I sit here looking at a screen with no one else around me.

“It’s different but last night football was back on our screens which is the main positive to take. We all realise, and that’s my message to players and staff, we’re living in a world that is difficult at this present moment in time.

“Has there been changes in the three weeks we’ve been back? Of course there has. There have been hurdles to jump and challenges to embrace. You need to be flexible and you need to be adaptable.

“If you can work out a way of getting the best performance out of your group, then you’re doing well. When you’re working every day, you see it. It’s about installing a drive and achieving your goal.”

Fulham and Brentford will play out the first game of the Championship’s restart at the weekend, when the local rivals do battle in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

It will be an unusual situation for Parker and his troops, as they fight for three vital points in what will be effectively a near-empty Craven Cottage.

“That’s a big challenge,” he said. “You can prepare the team but there’s little obstacles. What you can’t do is understand the impact an empty stadium will have on the players.

“Any manager sitting there, whether they’re new to it or been in the job 25 years, will have to adapt. You’re constantly trying to prepare for problems or protocols but you’re always second guessing. Things change so quickly that you need to be ready.

“Playing at your home stadium with familiar surroundings can still be seen as an advantage. Time will only tell, but I can’t see it being a leveller. You’d prefer being there with fans than not. We’ll have to wait and see and make a judgement after nine games.”

The West London derby is a mouth-watering fixture to get the second tier back under way with, and Parker knows that it’s certainly one to whet the appetite.

“Lockdown and football ending didn’t come at a good time for us or Brentford,” he stated. “We were top of the form table in the last 16 games, Brentford were second.

“We were the form teams. That’s why it was anticipated as a tasty clash, with the added edge of a derby.

“The facts are we’re having to go back into it after three months. I understand what this means and what it means to the fans.

“It’ll be a tough game against a very good side. It’ll be a big challenge and Brentford will be feeling the same.

“I hope the intensity is still high [without fans]. In football that comes from a couple of things; physicality, and the mindset of what the occasion brings.

“There’s no denying that two weeks of contact training isn’t ideal, and you saw last night [in the Premier League] that brought a slower game.

“My team are in a good place and we know what’s at stake with a derby against your rivals from around the corner. That should add a spice and edge. We’ll understand that and so will Brentford.”

The lockdown has at least provided teams with an opportunity to nurse previously injured players back to health, and Parker believes his group is in a good place.

“The squad is looking okay,” he revealed. “We had a couple of injury concerns early on which had a bit of an impact, but we’re good now.

“We’re going into the nine games prepared and everyone will be needed and used. We’re pretty well full strength and raring to go.”

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