Parker: We must build on first win ahead of international break


cott Parker has challenged his Fulham side to go into the international break on the back of successive victories, after admitting an ‘element of relief’ at Monday’s first win of this season.  

Parker’s men had taken just one point from their opening six games going into Monday night’s clash with fellow newcomers West Brom, but a 2-0 win lifted them out of the relegation zone.  

“It’s like anything,” Parker said. “You’ll have setbacks along the way but for someone in my position at some point you need to see reward, or the players do and I think they were well worthy of that.  

“Being in the profession we’re in you always realise you need results so of course there was an element of relief, no doubt, but also an element of how well we did. We played well in previous games but hadn’t been able to get the win so that was big for us on Monday night, something for us to build on.”

Parker’s men go to the London Stadium on Saturday night to meet in-form West Ham looking to make it back-to-back wins before the third international break in as many months.  

Many managers have complained about the volume of international football in this congested season. For Parker, however, it has proved something of a blessing, allowing him time to work with his squad on the training ground after a truncated summer, and victory over the Hammers would add to their momentum.

“[It’s] a tough game but one which, going into an international break, we could do with getting something out of it,” Parker added. “Regroup, work a bit harder over the course of the break.  

“We’ve had a very quick turnaround from Wembley, to two weeks off, to two weeks preseason, so these international breaks have come at a good time for us. Hopefully we can get a positive result and keep working.”

Meanwhile, the Fulham boss insists Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek will play a “vital role” in his side’s battle to stay in the top flight, despite the midfielder being dropped for the win over the Baggies.

“I’ve been very impressed with him,” Parker said. “He has undoubtable ability and quality. Ruben’s been out for a long, long time, he’s not played a lot of football consistently for a long part now.  

“I think it’s very clear that it’s a long season with a lot of football matches this year. He wasn’t involved against West Brom but I have no doubt he’ll play a vital role in what we do this year for sure.”

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