By Morgan Phillips
The Times (Saturday 4th May) featured an extensive interview with Scott Parker, who at the age of 38 is beginning a new career as a football manager.
As a shrewd observer, he has learnt much from the 27 coaches for whom he played – not all of them at Fulham though it was a period of regular change.
Scott has made an impressive start at Craven Cottage, raising morale and improving a ramshackle defence. Only one goal has been conceded in the last four matches.
This has led to some supporters declaring prematurely that the team is now up to Premier League standards. Doubtless Parker recalls the joy which accompanied Kit Symons’s appointment as Fulham manager in September 2014. Fourteen months later with the team in mid-table Symons was dismissed.
In any case Saturday’s game at Wolverhampton will have acted as a reality check.
The home side, promoted with Fulham and Cardiff a few months ago, reached the FA Cup Semi-Final and may well gain a place in next season’s Europa League. Whereas Fulham and Cardiff, promoted with them, are destined for relegation.
In those circumstances a 1-0 defeat is no disgrace. Goalkeeper Sergio Rico defied the lively Wolves attack for 75 minutes, but Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa’s carelessness allowed Joao Moutinho to provide Leander Dendoncker with a spectacular goal.
We saw too little of Fulham’s attack. Ryan Sessegnon provided opportunities for Aleks Mitrovic and Tom Cairney, which were both wasted; and Ryan Babel had no chance to repeat his wonder goal of the previous match.
It would be crass not to applaud Parker’s decision to field Harvey Elliott for the game’s closing moments. At 16 years and 30 days he became the youngest Premier League player ever. Let us hope the Harvey and his manager enjoy long and successful careers.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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