Scott Parker was bitterly disappointed with the defensive errors that ultimately cost Fulham dear in their defeat at Leeds United this afternoon.
The Whites went down 4-3 at Elland Road with more calamitous defending to blame for several of the hosts’ goals. A frustrated Fulham boss told his post-match press conference:
Overall I am very frustrated. You can’t expect to score four or five goals to get something out of a game. You cannot give goals up as easily as we have given them up today. That is vitally important for us to improve on. For me at times it not about training, it’s about a mindset when it comes to defending. A bulb that goes off in your head when at certain moments in football matches there are critical moments.
You have to be on high alert because in the Premier League at any given moment when you are nice and calm in possession the game can change. Of course there are individual mistakes and I understand but the biggest issue for me is at certain moments you need to show another side. That comes from deep in the belly, you need to have a sense about you. Sometimes we are too nice. Within a split second the ball can be in the back of the net.
Parker did praise his side’s resolve as they battled back from 4-1 to almost complete an improbable comeback in the closing stages.
But there are positives from today. We showed some real quality in possession at times. We showed a real impetus and caused Leeds a lot of problems. It was an entertaining game and I think we were largely part of that. My team showed massive character. At 4-1 I think the floodgates could have opened. Maybe 18 months ago that would have been the case. The team kept on believing and never quit. But we left ourselves with a little bit too much to do.
Parker explained his four changes from the defeat by Arsenal as being designed to try and deal with the particular qualities of today’s opposition.
This was a unique team we played against today. A man-for-man team that presses you all over the pitch. We needed ball carriers. We needed people who could break away all over the pitch. That is why I named the team we fielded today. But listen. The players who did not play today are vital and will play a vital part this year. As I showed last year I will make changes for matches that give us the best chance of winning.