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Pereira leaves Fulham

Fulham have confirmed this evening that their assistant director of football Javier Pereira has left the club to become head coach of Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye.

Pereira, who was previously assistant to Slavisa Jokanovic at Craven Cottage between 2015 and 2018, rejoined the London club as assistant to head of football operations and vice chairman Tony Khan in January. The 54 year-old was eager to get back into football management and accepted Henan Jianye’s offer two weeks ago.

Fulham’s statement this evening quotes Pereira, 54, as saying:

“I would like to thank Mr Khan and Tony Khan for the incredible support they have given to me. The most important thing to me is to be leaving the club at a time when its objective of being promoted to the Premier League was achieved. I will be keeping a keen interest in Fulham and I will be cheering for the team this season. I wish the Club every success and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.”

Marlon ‘passes Fulham medical’

Sassuolo defender Marlon has successfully passed his Fulham medical and both clubs are expecting the transfer to be officially announced tomorrow, according to reports in Italy this evening.

The Brazilian is expected to receive his work permit tomorrow and the deal, believed to be worth in the region of £13.75m, can then be finalised. Fulham have been searching for a solution to their defensive frailties for most of the summer, but the hunt became even more urgent when Scott Parker’s side conceded seven goals in their first two Premier League defeats at the hands of Arsenal and newly-promoted Leeds.

Marlon, who won the Primeira Liga with Fluminese in 2016, has amassed considerable continental experience. The 25 year-old’s promising displays in Brazil convinced Barcelona to sign him and, although he made only a handful of first-team appearances for the Catalan giants, Marlon has gained European experience elsewhere. He spent a season on loan with Nice, playing alongside Maxime Le Marchand, and has had two years at Sassuolo, making 41 Serie A appearances.

Marlon set for Fulham medical

Brazilian defender Marlon will travel to London today to have a medical ahead of his proposed move to Fulham after the Whites agreed a fee with Sassuolo, according to reports from Italy.

The deal is thought to be worth around £13.75m and the centre half will finalise his personal terms with Fulham when he arrives in England later today, although the Premier League new boys are confident that this will not prove problematic. Barcelona have waived their right to re-sign their former player having held a buy-back option as part of the transfer that took Marlon to Italy in 2018.

The 23 year-old made 23 appearances as Sassuolo finished eighth in Serie A last season, keeping five clean sheets. A ball-playing centre back, Marlon is seen as suiting Scott Parker’s preferred style and system, although Fulham are believed to be targeting at least one more centre half as well as further reinforcements in forward areas.

Parker pleased as Fulham progress

Scott Parker professed himself pleased with a good night’s work as Fulham overcome a slow start to see off Sheffield Wednesday and book a place in the fourth round of the League Cup.

The Fulham manager opted to field a strong side featuring a number of first-team regulars, perhaps with an eye on a crucial clash with Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday. The hosts took a while to settle but first half goals from Aboubakar Kamara and Bobby Decordova-Reid were enough to secure victory in an open game.

Parker told his post-match press conference:

Overall it was a really good performance. Defensively we looked very good, a clean sheet is obviously good to build on. We got the two goals for the win, but on another day it probably could have been a lot more. We had some real big chances that we’ve not managed to put in the back of the net, but overall I’m very pleased. We got some minutes in players’ legs who needed it, as well as still progressing as a team, so overall a lot of boxes ticked tonight.

The Fulham boss was pleased with the contributions of his two goalscorers, who he hopes can ease Fulham’s reliance on Aleksandar Mitrovic for goals going forward.

We realise this year we’re going to have to try and move the goals around the team a little bit more than we did last year, when we relied a lot on Aleks. I’m pleased now that Bobby’s got two in two, and that Abou is now off the mark tonight with a goal as well. Like I said, there were some good chances created by our front half players which, on another night, could have gone in.

Parker singled out the performances of Tyrese Francois and Fabio Carvalho, who came off the bench to make his senior debut in the second half.

I thought they were brilliant. They did really well, to be fair. They’ve trained really well with us over the last few weeks, I thought they were positive when they came on, and they created a few chances as well, so I was really pleased for those boys. Tyrese and Fabio, two very good football players who I’m sure will have a bright future here.

The win sets up another local derby with Brentford, just eight weeks after the Whites won the play-off final at Wembley.

It’s a derby in the next round of the cup, so of course it’s a big game for both sides, and we’re looking forward to it. The last time we played was certainly a lot bigger than the one we’re going to be playing next week. That’s not to put the game coming up down in any way, it’s the reality. But as always, when it’s a London derby, when you’re up against your rivals, there’s always a little bit more of an edge to it. We’re looking forward to playing against a very, very good Brentford side.

Parker refused to drawn about Fulham’s transfer dealings when asked about press reports that suggested they were close to signing Ademola Lookman and Marlon.

It’s all speculation really and players are owned by other teams so I wouldn’t want to comment on them. I think it’s clear we want to do some business but as for those individuals it’s not for me to comment really.

Kamara and Decordova-Reid fire Fulham into fourth round

First half strikes from Aboubakar Kamara and Bobby Decordova-Reid saw Fulham past a spirited and enterprising Sheffield Wednesday side as the Premier League outfit booked a tantalising tie with local rivals Brentford in round four.

Scott Parker fielded a strong side despite the spectre of another vital league fixture against Aston Villa on Monday night looming, but it was Sheffield Wednesday who made the early running at a damp Craven Cottage. The Owls, who had made an unbeaten start to the campaign without conceding a goal in their first four games, settled quickest even though Garry Monk had made eleven changes from the side that drew with Watford on Saturday. They played pretty football from the outset, but struggled to find the penetration in the final third to hurt Fulham.

After Adam Reach and Fikayo Dele-Bashiru had shown early glimmers of their creativity, Fulham opened the scoring from their very first attack. Michael Hector, once voted Wednesday’s player of the year during a successful loan spell at Hillsborough, nodded a ball through for Anthony Knockaert, who burst through the visitors’ defence far too easily. The Frenchman might have gone for goal himself but unselfishly squared for Aboubakar Kamara, who rolled home the simplest of finishes from eight yards out.

Wednesday kept pressing despite that early setback. Joey Pelupessy picked out Adam Reach with a clever ball down the left and the versatile forward produced a neat turn to wiggle away from two challengers before forcing a fine reaction save from Marek Rodak when he unleashed a trademark left-footed drive from the edge of the box. The visitors were posing serious problems down the Fulham left and were unfortunate not to level when former Brentford full-back Moses Odubajo burst into space and produced a great pull back that Dele-Bashiru couldn’t fire past Rodak, who made another good save. The Slovakian international was kept busy throughout and certainly made his point to Scott Parker, who dropped him for defeat by Leeds last weekend.

Fulham were nowhere near as sharp in their passing as they would have liked to be – their opportunities were limited to largely individual efforts. Antonee Robinson demonstrated his rapid pace as he surged clear down the left flank and almost matched an eye-catching burst with a fine finish, but Joe Wildsmith clawed the American international’s rasping drive away for a corner. The Whites were gradually moving through the gears and grabbed a second goal just after the half hour. Decordova-Reid was on hand to snaffle his second goal in as many games after brilliant work from Josh Onomah down the right – an inviting cross was perfect for the Jamaican to fire home.

A two-goal deficit was harsh on Wednesday, who continued to come forward without reservation. The lively Dele-Bashiru sauntered into a great position down the left but Rodak palmed away Odubajo’s attempted finish. They almost halved their arrears straight after the break but Rodak made another stunning save to deny Odubjao and, just to show that the Owls’ luck was definitely out, Liam Palmer’s effort from the rebound was turned wide by Elias Kachunga.

Fulham were far more fluent in the second half and should have put the game to bed well before the end. Hector made a horrible mess of a header when he was picked out by a beautiful cross from Kamara, heading the ball away from goal rather than towards the Wednesday net. Decordova-Reid then fired straight at Wildsmith when clean through and Kamara’s wonderfully weighted through ball unlocked the visitors’ defence for Knockaert, who drove wastefully wide with Wildsmith committed to narrowing the angle.

Knockaert nearly made amends for that glaring miss when an audacious chip from outside the box clipped the top of the crossbar after a spellbinding period of Fulham possession, but the ruthlessness that characterised Fulham’s finishing in the first half had deserted them. Decordova-Reid should have had a hat-trick but he blazed over after Tyrese Francois had laid one on a plate for him eight yards out. There was a rare sighting of Jean-Michael Seri in a Fulham shirt and a senior debut for Fabio Carvalho, who almost stole the headlines when he seized on a short backpass in the dying seconds only to lift his finish over Wildsmith and wide.

Parker, being the perfectionist that he is, will have plenty of bones to pick out of this curious display. Fulham were casual at times in possession and horribly wasteful with their finishing, but prevailed over dangerous opponents by virtue of that touch of top flight quality. Plenty of these players will now have much-needed minutes in their legs and the Fulham boss will turn his attention to coming up with a winning formula ahead of the visit of Aston Villa on Monday. Planning for a tasty trip to Hounslow will have to wait.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Odoi, Robinson, Hector, Ream; Johansen, Onomah (Seri 62); Kebano, Knockaert (Carvalho 78), Decordova-Reid; Kamara (Francois 81). Subs (not used): Fabri, Le Marchand, Bryan, Cavaleiro.


GOALS: Kamara (9), Decordova-Reid (32).

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (3-5-2): Wildsmith, Brennan, Shaw, Börner; Odubajo, Palmer (Penney 71), Dele-Bashiru, Pelupessy, Waldock (Rhodes 79); Reach, Kachunga (Hagan 82). Subs (not used): Dawson, Iorfa.

BOOKED: Odubajo.

REFEREE: Lee Mason (Lancashire).