Ahead of Sunday’s final game of the season, Fulham manager Scott Parker said his side’s season had not been a failure, despite their relegation from the Premier League.
After a run of one point from eight games, Fulham ran out of time to catch those above them, and ahead of their 4pm Sunday match with Newcastle, they sit 18th with 28 points, 11 behind 17th place Burnley.
But even with the Cottagers mathematically consigned to the Championship next season, Parker seemed positive about his team’s progression this season at today’s press conference.
He said: “Its been a tough and disappointing season and overall when you look at our goal it has been disappointing, but when I break it down there’s been some big parts which have been very good, and vitally important for the club.
“There are stepping stones you have to take and sometimes you miss certain stones and you fall in the water.
“The big part is you get back out and put your feet back on those stones and before you know it then you’re walking across and you get there.”
Parker added that Fulham had entered the Premier League as a very young and inexperienced squad that struggled to get to grips with the league.
However, he said that he felt the team and the players had improved dramatically, as he once again stressed the importance of the bigger picture which he sees in the sport.
Parker’s determination is certainly admirable, as well as his tireless ambition to keep progressing despite the team’s relegation to the Championship.
He added: “The day I stop learning is probably the day I stop doing this job.
“I will always keep learning.”
The pandemic and resulting restrictions on fans in stadiums has certainly made this a tough season for all clubs.
Describing the season as sterile and hollow when it came to the empty stadiums, Parker said he was looking forward to the return of Fulham fans, who he told us had always been extremely supportive of the team and had backed them through everything.
He added: “I have no doubt that if Craven Cottage at times was full that extra support that our fans would have given us would have been the difference that we needed.”
Aleksandar Mitrović, Thomas Cairney and Antonee Robinson will not be playing on Sunday and Bobby Armani Decordova-Reid’s appearance is also in doubt after it was revealed he has sustained an ankle injury.
Following the booing by fans as Leicester City and Chelsea players took the knee against racism at Wembley on Saturday, SWL asked Parker what Fulham’s stance was on this type of abuse being directed towards players.
Parker replied that this behaviour from fans would be not discourage the club from standing against racism and discrimination in sport.
He added: “All I can say is this is something that we’ve decided as a football club that we will do.
“We will not tolerate anything of this kind in terms of racism and discrimination and that’s a cause that we want to support.”