Scott Parker praised his Fulham side for defending ‘heroically’ as the Whites were narrowly beaten by Chelsea in the west London derby having played more than 45 minutes with ten man.
The home side were so close to holding on to a precious point against their near neighbours, even after Antonee Robinson was given his marching orders for a reckless tackle on Cesar Azpilicueta in the dying seconds of the first half. Fulham’s brave resistance was only broken by Mason Mount’s winner with ten minutes to play. Parker, although desperately disappointed with the defeat, felt his team were excellent in nullifying Chelsea’s star players. He told his post-match press conference:
I thought we defended heroically. We defended very, very well really and it is a shame that they got their noses in front. You’re playing the clock a little bit second half. You get to 78 minutes and you’re thinking, can we hold on?
But overall I’ve got nothing but admiration for my team for the way they played. Certainly first half we limited them, and 10-15 minutes before the sending off we were well in the ascendancy. We missed a big chance with Cavaleiro, and when you’re us with those chances against these sorts of teams, they need to go in. And then the sending off changes the game, obviously.
Parker avoided overtly criticising referee Peter Bankes for his decision to send off Robinson – and admitted he would be discussing the incident with the American international in the coming days.
The reaction of my players, they seemed very shocked that the ref was going to give a red, but I honestly don’t know and I wouldn’t want to comment because I haven’t seen it to make that real judgement. I’ve just left the changing room so I’ve not seen it. The game becomes a lot different for us.
Where we were growing into the game, we really got to grips with Chelsea and caused them some real problems, and Antonee was at the forefront of that with the way he was playing. He defended very well and certainly was a real outlet for us, so of course that changed the game.
I want every single one of my players to play right on the edge, I want to be aggressive, I want to be competitive. And at times when you are on that line, sometimes players may step over that. If that’s the case today then that’s the way it is. Antonee will learn from that and understand that. Without being on that edge, we’re not going to be competitive. It’s disappointing because it’s probably a needless tackle but we’ll go again and dust ourselves down, and get ready now for United.