Scott Parker has urged his players to approach Saturday’s SW6 derby against Chelsea with real confidence befitting their six-match unbeaten run.
The Whites battled back impressively to grab a precious point at Tottenham last night, closing to within two points of seventeenth-placed Brighton and Hove Albion, courtesy of a terrific header from Ivan Cavaleiro. Parker told his pre-match press conference that he feels the belief growing amongst his squad growing as a result of their excellent recent run of results.
To go unbeaten in this division, for a team like us, over a sustained period of time now against some very good opposition, shows how far we’ve come. We’ve changed tactically a little bit, our shape has changed a little bit. We’ve worked tirelessly throughout the season, come up with something and drilled that into the players so they’re comfortable with it.
But we’ve needed time as well. This team came fourth last year in the Championship, had a really, really quick turnaround coming into the Premier League. We got a lot of players in, there’s players we had here last year as well who’re playing for the first time in the Premier League.
There isn’t a magic wand, it’s hard work on the training field, it’s drilling the team, it’s getting messages across to a group of players who are working tirelessly hard to improve and get better. And you’re probably seeing the rewards of that. Ultimately, as much hard work as the players are putting in, it’s time. Of course, the quality and the way we play has been more dynamic, I think we look a real threat in every aspect of our game.
Overall, as a team I think we tick a lot of boxes, and that’s pleasing. There’s still loads of levels to go, there’s still a lot more we can improve, and we need to maintain that and keep pushing on.
When asked if it was a good time to be coming up against Frank Lampard and Chelsea, Parker instead reiterated the growing levels of confidence within his own ranks.
It’s a good time for us to be playing any team. I feel we’re in a good place, I feel like confidence is high in the squad, I feel like there’s a group of players here who are starting to feel their worth in this division. t’s a tough game against an exceptionally good team in Chelsea, a famous team, but in saying that, we’re in a good place.
Saturday we’ll go and give them a game and hopefully get something out of it. We approach every game like that, no matter what the challenge, we’ll always try and put our stamp on the game. There’s no denying that the weekend’s another massive, massive task for us and a big challenge, because Frank and Chelsea, with the quality they possess, they can hurt you. It’s a tough game for us so we’ll need to bring the same qualities, bring the same passion and everything else that comes with that.