Skip to main content

Fulham are a ‘different animal’ now, Scott Parker warns Leeds

Scott Parker File Photo
(Image credit: Clive Brunskill)

Scott Parker insists Fulham are now a “different animal” to the team which suffered a thrilling 4-3 defeat to Leeds at Elland Road in September.

The Cottagers host Marcelo Bielsa’s side at Craven Cottage on Friday night knowing a win would lift them out of the relegation zone for the first time since December.

Fulham’s defence has seen a marked improvement since the start of the season, when they shipped 10 goals in their opening three matches, keeping five clean sheets since the start of February, including in the shock win away at Liverpool.

“There is no pressure, the pressure comes from us,” Parker said.

“It is about us getting three points on Friday night and putting in a performance. That is our focus.”

“We are a different team, certainly a different animal this time round. You can see that with the personnel and the way the team has grown and developed.

“It is a different side to when we last played. We take things from that game and other games, but us as a team have moved on from when we last played them.”

Leeds have tended to struggle in recent years on trips to the capital, with Bielsa yet to secure a victory in any of his 15 matches in London since arriving at the club in June 2018.

“It’s tough, they’re a very tough side, a unique side in terms of the way they are set up,” Parker said when asked about Friday’s opponents.

“It’s unique, you don’t come across it a lot in this division – had it a couple of times last year. The intensity they play at is always one you need to match.

“We were in the same league last year and have played them once this year, so we understand fully what Leeds bring, their energy and the intensity of the game. It’s a big game.

“They commit a lot of bodies forward, they score a lot of goals. They are right up there in the charts in terms of chances created and bodies in the box. They always commit a high volume of bodies and their games are expensive (in terms of goals conceded) at times. So, while that cause you stress and pressure, there is an opportunity at times to get at them on transition on counter-attacks.

“But you need to be able to (deal with) the intensity and the numbers they create, so your structure has got to be good and individually you have got to be tuned in on that. But there is an opportunity you can try and exploit and try and be deadly as well.”