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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker: Villa Park tough place to go to

last updated Saturday 03rd April 2021, 8:16 PM


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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker

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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker says Aston Villa deserve credit for how they’ve grown as a team this season.

After narrowing avoiding relegation last term, Dean Smith’s side now look a strong bet for a top half finish.

“I think they’ve done fantastically well,” Parker said. “The coaching staff have done a very good job.

“They started the season extremely well and got some very, very good results. Performances have dipped a little bit, been a bit up and down, but that’s part and parcel of probably where Villa are in their whole dynamics of a football club.

“Staying in the Premier League last year was huge for them, they’ve been given more money to invest and they’ve invested very, very well.

“They’ve got a very strong team, so I personally feel that the journey they’re on, and where they are, is a very good one.

“They’re stable, doing it the right way, and it’s going to be a tough game. They’ve got individual players who can cause you problems, and we understand that.

“It’s a tough place to go, Villa Park, we understand that. We’re going to have to bring something to this game on Sunday, all elements of our game, to get something from it.

“And hopefully, like we’ve shown in other games, we can do that again.”

Club captain Jack Grealish is likely to make his return from injury on Sunday, but Parker is used to preparing his side to face top class opponents.

“We understand the quality of the player in Grealish and what he brings to Aston Villa,” our Head Coach stated. “This is the Premier League, every week there’s a player we can highlight.

“There’s quality in every team in this division, so these are the challenges you face, these are the reasons we wanted to be in this league.

“These are the challenges you need to embrace, putting yourself up against the best and seeing if we can compete and get the better of them, while we also understand the quality [Grealish] brings, along with [Ollie] Watkins, along with [Tyrone] Mings, along with all these players.

“They’re challenges that we’re looking forward to, and hopefully we’ll come out the other side.”

The past two weeks marked a successful period for a number of Fulham’s international contingent, none more so than Aleksandar Mitrovic who bagged five goals in under two-and-a-half matches, becoming Serbia’s record scorer in the process.

Understandably, Parker was delighted for him.

“I’m really pleased, really, really pleased,” he said. “Five goals in three games, I’m pleased for Mitro.

“I think we could all see his emotion. That feeling of scoring when you’re a centre forward, there’s huge pressure, and scoring goals is the main release.

“He someone who’s worked so hard and grafted, and he’s taken his chance. He comes off the bench for Serbia and scores two goals, and then from there we’ve seen a little bit of confidence [in the next two fixtures], which he probably needs.

“The talent’s always there, it’s just having confidence, and I like to think the confidence is there with Mitro.

“He’s done very, very well. It’s a massive achievement what he’s done.”

One hopes that Mitrovic translates his international form to club level, but Parker insists he has always been a major contributor to the side, even when he hasn’t been finding the net.

“This is professional sport, and in professional sport sometimes there’s little blips,” he explained. “I look at the journey that Mitro’s been on from last year; he wasn’t fit to play at Wembley in the Final, he had a short turnaround for pre-season, and it’s been a bit bumpy.

“He’s had Covid, a big penalty miss for Serbia. These are the journeys that players go on. Sometimes players need air and to just regroup a little bit, take the pressure off them, and they come back.

“If they’ve got talent, and they’ve got a certain ethic about them, they come back stronger. And hopefully that’s exactly where Mitro is.

“Mitro has been vital for us this year. Although people on the outside are always going to judge him on goals, and of course he probably judges himself on that, he’s been a vital part for us, and he will be. I’ve always said that.

“I’ve consistently said that he’s got a big part to play between now and the end of the season, but also from the start of the season to now.”






















Source Geoff Pruce at Fulham FC
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