‘You can’t build teams on drastic changes’ - Fulham to approach latest promotion very differently

Fulham manager Scott Parker and his back room staff celebrate after winning the Championship play-of

Fulham manager Scott Parker and his back room staff celebrate after winning the Championship play-off final at Wembley Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Fulham have shown Norwich City that it is possible to bounce back from a crushing Premier League relegation but manager Scott Parker expects the Cottagers to go about promotion very differently than their previous attempt.

The former Canaries loanee’s team beat Brentford 2-1 in extra-time in the Championship play-off final on Tuesday, bouncing back from a top-flight relegation in 2019 with just 26 points - five more than Norwich managed last season on their way down.

The West London club beat Aston Villa in the 2018 play-off final then splashed around £130million to bring in eight new players, which resulted in a chaotic campaign as Slvisa Jokanovic was replaced by Claudio Ranieri, before Parker picked up the reins.

Talking about his “proudest moment” the former England midfielder said: “This team 15 months ago was a team which lost most weeks and everyone could see that, we let in a lot of goals, and what people don’t see and understand is that there were deep-rooted issues at the club which had some real gaping wounds and real issues.

“Along the way we’ve pushed and pushed, tried to change the mentality but tried to balance that with the expectation that you should win a league by 20 points. It’s been a balance constantly and I’m proud because I see a team which has transformed.

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“I also see a team which is still learning and growing, and we still need to improve, but I just feel proud and emotional.”

Parker - who made six appearances and scored once for Norwich while on loan from Charlton in 2000 - went on to talk about learning from the “clear errors” of the club’s 2018-19 campaign in the top flight, citing the need build on “core foundations”.

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“You can’t build teams on drastic changes, drastic swings of players,” he concluded. “This team have been around me for the best part of 15 months and they’ve improved and improved, a lot more improvement still to be done for sure.

“But I’m happy with where we are. Of course we’re going to need additions, we’re going into the biggest league there is, but for sure no real drastic changes and we’ll go from there.”

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