Scott Parker singled out Ademola Lookman and Ivan Cavaleiro for particular praise after the pair overcame recent negative attention to score the goals that gave Fulham a 2-1 win over Leicester City.
Lookman faced widespread criticism after his failed attempt at a panenka from the penalty spot lost a point for his side at West Ham, while Cavaleiro slipped as he also missed from 12 yards last time out against Everton.
But the pair responded in impressive fashion – Lookman with a calm opener and Cavaleiro with an emphatic spot-kick, to send their side on the way to a vital three points.
“Ade came under a lot of stick a few weeks ago with the penalty, and rightly so,” Parker said.
“Like I said at the time, you need to take your medicine. But what’s going to determine anyone is the response. This team has pure belief, I spoke to them before about not letting defeats cripple us.
“Cavaleiro last week slips with the penalty, and I can only imagine what was being said on Twitter and Instagram with the laughter at his expense, and he would have seen that himself.
“We practiced penalties all week and I said to him yesterday: ‘Are you ready to take this penalty tomorrow if we get one?’ He looked me dead in the eye and said he was ready.
“The courage and bravery to do that after a slip, stepping up and putting himself on offer to be scrutinised if he missed – those are the moments we need, those are the things that will determine what these players become and what we become as a team.”
Cavaleiro’s penalty came a long time after the initial foul, with play continuing at first before referee Simon Hooper was eventually advised to check the monitor before he then awarded the spot kick.
Parker believes ensuring his players are prepared for any such disruption is crucial in improving Fulham’s poor record from the spot.
“We try to tick as many boxes as we can, and to put some processes in place so it isn’t a surprise when it comes to matchday,” he said.
“That’s from the time the whistle is blown, with VAR now there could be long pauses and that’s then a wait for the penalty taker and thought processes going through his head for two or three minutes.
“It’s a real breakdown of mindset and information on penalties. Cav scored tonight, and that was perfect.”
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