BY MATT VERRI
Fulham boss Scott Parker believes the return of football fans to stadiums will provide a huge boost to teams even with it being in limited numbers.
With the news that London has been placed into the tier two category of restrictions, clubs in the capital will be able to allow up to 2,000 supporters in when the national lockdown ends next week.
Fulham’s next two fixtures are away from home, but they could welcome supporters back to Craven Cottage for the first time since February for the clash with Liverpool on December 12.
“It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s what we all want,” Parker said.
“We’ve wanted nothing more than fans to come back into stadiums, and the news in terms of London is perfect really.
“At the moment it’s 2,000 fans, but hopefully that progresses and then becomes more.
“We’ve had a long time without fans and without that atmosphere. It will be a little bit strange at first and it will be different, but even with only 2,000 fans we all understand the lift it can give you.
“Home fans can make you feel that little bit taller as a team, and make the opposition feel that pressure is coming on top of them a little bit more so it’s a big positive.”
The Fulham boss will be hoping the return of fans can help his side turn tight matches more in their favour and push out of the relegation zone.
Five of Fulham’s seven league defeats this season have been by a one-goal margin, and Parker feels his team are on the right path to iron out those inconsistencies.
“It’s frustrating, because I see a very good team here at times,” he said.
“There’s a lot of improvement to make and we need to keep developing, but in moments against quality opposition we have a real way about us.
“We need to translate that into points – you don’t want to be a team that plays nice football but loses matches, and we need to get that balance right.
“I feel it’s close, but it’s been the fine margins sometimes. You can’t afford to lose a minute of concentration in this division and at times we’ve fallen short in terms of understanding that.
“Anyone who watches us play and understands football will see where some of our deficiencies are, but will also see how good we are at times.
“We’re a young team with a lot of new players getting to grips with my voice and my message, but as a team we are going in the right direction.”
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