Scott Parker very honest when asked about being taken apart by Newcastle United
Sunday was a reality check for Scott Parker.
Seeing the bigger picture, the four goal hammering might not be the worst thing that could have happened to relegated Fulham.
A reminder of the inherent weaknesses the newly confirmed permanent manager has inherited.
Shelvey, Perez, Schar and Rondon making it 81 goals conceded in 38 Premier League games, a shocker.
After difficult opening fixtures and five defeats in a row to confirm Fulham’s relegation, Scott Parker looked to have found some hope. Four games bringing three wins and only one goal conceded.
However, the Fulham boss held his hands up after this one and pointed to the crux of the problem: ‘When the game becomes a basketball match for us, which I mean back and forth, we are the side that look like they are going to concede.’
To be fair, that was an ideal scenario for a Newcastle side that Rafa Benitez has primed to counter-attack. The stats (see below) might show Fulham had 68% possession but they also show NUFC restricted them to two shots on target, whilst Newcastle converted four of their six.
After Mike Ashley took over Newcastle United in 2007, England international midfielder Scott Parker was the first player sold. Sam Allardyce happy to sell him and bring in the likes of Alan Smith and Joey Barton to replace him.
Now 12 years on, both Scott Parker and Newcastle United face uncertain times.
Can Parker turn around a talented but fragile Fulham team/squad, whilst can Mike Ashley avoid destroying the gift that is Rafa Benitez’ presence and signs of a very positive future, if the right decisions are made…
If Rafa Benitez is convinced there is any point in staying, who knows what lies in front of us.
As for the alternative, if Mike Ashley pushes the self-destruct button then it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see these two clubs swapping places next May.
Scott Parker after Fulham 0 Newcastle 4:
“It is frustrating, really frustrating. We had become a bit more resilient but today I felt at times there were signs of the old us.
“When the game becomes a basketball match for us, which I mean back and forth, we are the side that look like they are going to concede.
“Of course it has been a disappointing season but in football as quick as you are down you are always around the corner from a new challenge and the new challenge is the Championship next season.
“There were signs in our play today of what we are trying to do and that is something I love but, of course, there are some other things I am not keen on.
“We will be in tomorrow and will go through the finer details of pre-season. We will take a break next week and then it will be foot to the floor.
“The two early goals took the sting right out of us straight away, the world class strike firstly and I’m not sure the result reflects the game.
“We were lacklustre and lacked a real conviction in the final third.
“Ultimately we were vulnerable on the break and struggled in that sense.
“There were some real pleasing things on my behalf in terms of the performance but some glaring things which stand out which we need to work on.
“Today gives us a clear idea of what needs to be done at the football club, I’ve said it before in this position.
“The Club needs a culture, it needs an identity and it needs foundations for us to be successful and that’s what we’re going to do.
“There is a big challenge ahead of us next season.
“Ultimately as a football club we drive standards and with the culture I suspect we’ll have a very successful season and seasons after.
“The owners here are vitally committed to this team, they have spent and invested a lot of money into this team, I have no doubt they will be doing everything in their powers to keep the best talent and the best players so it gives us every opportunity next season.
“The league we’re going into is a tough league, it’s a very, very difficult league which you see now has got teams in it which were established Premier League teams and struggling mid-table in the division.
“I think you understand the demands of it and how it’s going to be, but my foundations are all about culture and I realise that’s the only way we will be successful in that league is if we establish the culture so it’s a big if for us but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Fulham 0 Newcastle 4
Shelvey 9, Perez 11, Schar 61, Rondon 90
Possession was Fulham 68% Newcastle 32%
Total shots were Fulham 16 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Fulham 2 Newcastle 6
Corners were Fulham 5 Newcastle 5
Referee: Kevin Friend
Dubravka, Hayden, (Fernandez 69), Lascelles, Schar, Dummett (Kenedy 81), Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Atsu (Muto 66), Perez, Rondon
Darlow, Watts, Cass, Clark
Crowd: 24,979 (2,700 official NUFC and many more in neutral and home areas)
(Alan Shearer salutes, Rafa, team and fans HERE)
(Rafa Benitez spoke to Mike Ashley after final whistle – HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game HERE)
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