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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker happy with wonder strikes

last updated Sunday 05th January 2020, 2:20 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker

Scott Parker
Scott Parker
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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker hopes victory over Aston Villa kickstarts a winning run in Fulham’s season.

Wonder strikes from Anthony Knockaert and Harry Arter secured safe passage through the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup, but Parker hopes the win has a greater effect than just that.

“First and foremost the result was pleasing but I think overall the performance and the way the team played today was outstanding,” he said. “In the first half I thought we had a lot of control and we put our mark on it but lacked a little bit in the final third.

“We spoke about that at half-time and how we can be a little bit more forceful when we get in those areas, and I thought second half we executed that very, very well.

“Overall it was a fine performance and one which we can build on. Winning football matches is vitally important for us. This team was used to losing football matches and losing becomes a habit, just like winning does.

“Big performances and big wins against Aston Villa, a Premier League side, is what brings belief. The players start believing a bit more and understand what they’re about, so it’s a key moment in that sense.”

The goals which sent the Whites through were straight out of the top drawer, with Arter’s particularly poignant following his spell on the sidelines.

“Both goals were pretty special,” Parker admitted. “For Harry, he’s been out for three months, worked hard. Long and lonely days when you’re injured for some time.

“To come on and score the winner justifies everything when you’ve had those lonely days. Two great finishes and, on the run of play, second half we could have got a couple more as well.

“Fair play to Ant, because we brought him in and he’s got off to a slowish start, I think he’d be the first to admit that, but the last three games I think you’re seeing the Knockaert that we’re all familiar with.

“Today we saw glimpses of him with the ball, but I thought out of possession today he was exceptional.”

Parker handed two debuts to players on Saturday, one of which was 17-year-old Jay Stansfield, who was rewarded for a prolific first half of the season with our Under-18s.

“He’s been scoring goals in the Under-18s, training with us for the last week and he’s one which we brought in and had full belief in,” Parker said.

“Like a lot of the players since I’ve been in charge here, whether it be Harvey Elliott, Marek Rodak, Matt O’Riley, they give you something different these young players, and it’s something I firmly believe in.

“I was a 16-year-old kid once who was desperate for an opportunity to prove myself, and I certainly won’t be looking any further than the Academy here to bring in and bleed these young players, and give them every chance to make a name for themselves at their club.

“There will be many more appearances from Jay, and he deserves his moment tonight.”

Michael Hector was the other man making his Fulham bow, and his Head Coach was pleased with what he saw.

“First class,” Parker said. “I think he executed everything right for 99 per cent. He was maybe at fault for the goal, but other than that I see a player.

“It’s a shame we didn’t do it in time on deadline day in the summer and we missed out on having him for four months. I think we saw a player today that we’ve needed at times this year.

“He brings character, a certain mentality, he’s an aggressive defender, and he’ll play a big part from now on hopefully.”

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