Saturday 23 March 2019

Parker believes Fulham can pull off great escape

The Cottagers are 13 points adrift of Premier League safety.

Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.
Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Caretaker boss Scott Parker believes Fulham can defy Premier League history and retain their place in the top flight.

No club has ever recovered from being 13 points adrift of safety at this stage of a Premier League campaign.

A Carlos Tevez-inspired West Ham survived having been 10 points behind in 2006-07 but Fulham will have to eclipse that achievement to pull off their own great escape.

Parker, Fulham’s third manager of the season after Slavisa Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri, already appears to have an impossible task on his hands – one made harder by the fact he comes up against title chasers Liverpool and Manchester City in the next two games.

But the 38-year-old is hanging onto the belief he can turn things around and complete a miraculous job of stopping Fulham dropping straight back down to the Sky Bet Championship.

“I believe we can stay up,” he said.

“In this league I see the quality in this team but I know and understand it will be very difficult.

“We have two tough games coming up and when you look at how many games we’ve won and how many we need to win I understand it will be very difficult. It’s cliche but while there are still points… it’s possible.

“Someone texted me and named a few teams who have got out a situation like ours and you mentioned one there.

“For sure one result can springboard and go from there and you’d like to think that could be the case.”

Liverpool are the visitors to Craven Cottage on Sunday and, while many will predict a victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men, Parker said his players share his view they can escape their current plight.

Asked if the squad still felt they could stay up, Parker replied: “I think they do.

“We’ve seen a big upturn daily in the players in the way they’re training and I believe their standards have gone up tenfold.

“I’ve been in this position as a player where you have the doubts sometimes, but the message stays the same, if we play the way we want we can cause an upset and we can get points.

“It (playing Liverpool) is a massive challenge, a team that are fighting at the right end of the table in terms of going for the championship, one full of individual quality that is up there with the world’s best – a fantastic team and a big challenge for us as a team but one we’re looking forward to.”

Press Association

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