A fruitless beginning to 2020/21 came to a welcome end for Fulham last weekend as they earned their first point of the season away at Sheffield United.
With their duck now finally broken, the Cottagers will be looking to secure their first victory of the campaign as Crystal Palace visit Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Fulham manager Scott Parker addressed the media virtually before the match — here are his most noteworthy quotes, as per the official Fulham website.
On the opposition
Palace come into this game with seven points from their first five matches, a respectable return given the Eagles have faced Manchester United, high-flying Everton and Chelsea during that run.
It’s set the precedent for what should be another fruitful season at Selhurst Park, with manager Roy Hodgson expected to deliver another solid campaign in south London — just ask the man who played under him for the England national team.
“It’s remarkable," Parker said. "I have full respect and admiration for Roy and what he’s doing at Crystal Palace. I think everyone knows that when you come up against a Roy Hodgson team, you’re up against a well-disciplined, well-organised team that can cause you problems.”
On Hodgson’s longevity and success
He turned 73 this year, but the former Palace academy prospect is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Hodgson became the oldest man to manage a Premier League match in February 2019 and is setting a mightily difficult new record to beat.
This incredible career and the years over which it has spanned contribute markedly to Parker’s already strong admiration for his opposite number here.
“Take aside how successful Roy’s been, to think he’s had the horsepower and the drive for a long, long time now, it shows you how good he is at what he does and what he has done. Full credit that he’s looking as young as he is, after all these years of being a manager and the stresses that brings.”
On selecting the 25-man squad
Fulham currently employ 29 senior players but, with a limit of 25 imposed on the submission of Premier League playing squads, four had to be excluded following the closure of recent the transfer window.
It transpired that they were all midfielders; Jean Michael Seri, Stefan Johansen and Kevin McDonald didn’t make the cut, while Josh Onomah likely would’ve done had he not been ruled out for a considerable length of time through injury.
Parker was reluctant to make such a decision, retaining faith in all of the players at the club, but needs must and the 40-year old is now focusing solely on what can be achieved with the squad available to at least until January.
“It was a tough decision, obviously, because the players we left out, I know they can help us as well," he said. "It’s not been easy, but it is what it is, it was a decision we had to make, and now we got with the 25 I’ve selected.”