BY DANIEL MARSH
Scott Parker commended his players following a dominant victory over Millwall at Craven Cottage – with a statement performance that broke statistical records.
The Fulham head coach saw his side put four past their visitors, with goals from Anthony Knockaert, Aleksander Mitrovic and a brace from Ivan Cavaleiro sealing a comfortable win.
Neil Harris’ men struggled to get near their hosts at times, as they recorded an astounding 84.5% possession statistic – the highest recorded stat since Opta started overseeing the Championship.
And Parker thought their stunning performance was exactly what his men deserved after a meticulous pre-season.
“Yeah, definitely [the best we’ve played] this year, I think,” said the Whites chief in the aftermath of the game.
“Probably the most pleasing thing sitting here as a coach is that all the work that’s gone on over the last 10 weeks now – pre-season and that – you finally see your team execute.
“[It] was pleasing against a very good Millwall side who have started their season pretty well really. I think full credit to the players; the players have been superb. From the start of pre-season, the information they’ve been given at times has been poured upon them, but they’ve been so receptive, right behind the process and ultimately the only way you can perform like that is down to that fact really. They deserve their time tonight to perform like that and that’s probably the most pleasing thing for me.”
The Lions struggled to cope with the Whites attacking quality – with each of the hosts front-three finding the net – and whilst Parker praised his forwards, he also made sure he stressed the importance of those behind them.
“Our whole framework, the way we play and our structure around this team is based around those [attacking] players,” explained Parker.
“There’s a lot of support around them in terms of other positions and what the other boys do. Ultimately, they’re the ones who get the headlines and score the goals but there’s a foundation behind them, the Cairney’s, the Johansen’s, the Arter’s, the Sessegnon’s which ultimately get us to a point in the pitch where we can give them the ball and they can do what they do.”
In addition to the record-breaking possession stat, Fulham also completed 934 passes – which is more in one game than Cardiff, Millwall and Wigan have recorded in their first four league matches combined.
“Wow, that’s amazing,” said Parker when informed of the possession stats in his post-match presser.
“I felt comfortable tonight in a sense of the way we played. Other than the first five minutes of the second half, we always felt we were in control of the game and that’s exactly how I want us to play. I want us to have control of the football match with the ball and dominate possession. That stat’s pleasing – ultimately that’s how we believe we want to play really.
“There’s two days turnaround now and we’re going to Forest, two days turnaround to Southampton. Cardiff away on a Friday night, this league is relentless. Tonight’s good of course but we’re four games in, it’s a long one. Ultimately, we’ll cherish this night – it’s been a great night – but come tomorrow morning we wipe it away. It’s a memory and we move on to Forest really that’s what matters next. “