BY JAKE SANDERS
Having expressed his anger at the Premier League in the build-up to the game, Scott Parker labelled his Fulham team “immense” following their impressive 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Wednesday evening.
The game had only been confirmed as going ahead early on Monday morning, leaving the Whites with little time to prepare, whilst forcing their west London derby with Chelsea to be moved to Saturday evening.
But Parker’s side certainly did not perform like a team that had suffered major disruptions ahead of the clash, while also not forgetting that the Cottagers had only been in action once since Boxing Day, and that was a much-changed side for their FA Cup third-round victory at QPR, due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
Fulham had to weather an early Tottenham storm though. And not only did they need the help of their goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, but they were also thankful that the likes of Harry Kane and Heung Min Son, more noticeably, didn’t bring their shooting boots to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
And less than 120 seconds after the South Korean had seen his agonising effort come back off the post, the Cottagers went up the other end and got their deserved equaliser when substitute and game-changer Ademola Lookman got the better of Davinson Sanchez before picking out Ivan Cavaleiro, who produced an excellent header past Hugo Lloris to cancel out Kane’s opener.
Had it not been for Aboubakar Kamara’s lack of awareness, Fulham could have completed the unlikeliest of turnarounds. Ruben Loftus-Cheek also lacked the finishing touch moments after Cavaleiro’s leveller.
Parker was more than delighted to collect a point against the manager that he played under during his Chelsea days.
“We were immense,” said the Fulham boss. “To a man we were superb under what we faced – a lot of speculation, a lot of talk from everyone outside – no-one really understood or knew that exactly the full extent of what we’ve been through.
“There were players out there that have had one day training, that have had illness – players in the squad that have had two, three, four days training.
“Overall, I’m proud because of what we have faced.
“But I don’t want to lose sight as well – bravery, commitment and desire was all there, but also a real quality.
Fulham might have only tasted victory twice in the Premier League following their promotion, but it’s now just one defeat in seven matches.
Three points against Chelsea at Craven Cottage tomorrow could see the Whites climb out of the drop-zone for the first time since the middle of December.
Parker is confident his team can avoid relegation despite being written off by many after losing their opening four matches.
“I see a team growing and who are relentless in their work every day. Players that want to learn, players that want to be successful and with that spirit and hunger to learn and get better, you always have a chance. We had a real identity about us.”
Fulham have scored just 14 goals in the league this term – only Burnley, West Brom and Sheffield United have netted fewer.
Aleksander Mitrovic, Fulham’s only recognised frontman, wasn’t involved in north London.
Parker said: “It’s an area we’re looking at [in the transfer window]. Cavaleiro has been fantastic. His goal was superb.
“I see a team that can cause many a team problem. A group of players that’ve been around the structure for some time. If it isn’t to happen, then we will keep going.”
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