The Promoted

What to expect from Fulham manager Scott Parker in FPL

Fulham have made a swift return to the Premier League, bouncing back to the top tier of English football after just one year away.

The Cottagers went up after defeating Brentford in the Championship play-off final at the beginning of August and join Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion as the three newly promoted sides in the top flight next season.

What can Fantasy managers expect from Parker and the Cottagers in 2020/21, then?

Our three-part series on Fulham will feature an in-depth examination of their defence and attack but we begin with a closer look at the man in the dugout.

To aid our analysis, we spoke to Fantasy Football Scout frequenter, Fulham fan and co-host of the excellent Always Cheating podcast, Brandon Kelley.

WHAT IS PARKER’S BACKGROUND?

Parker has plenty of top-flight experience from his playing days, with stints of various length at Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.

The ex-England international called time on his on-the-field career at the age of 36 in 2017, subsequently returning to Spurs to coach their under-18 side.

Moving back to west London in 2018, Parker served as a first-team coach to both Slavisa Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri in their spells in the Fulham hot seat before taking temporary charge himself when Ranieri was fired in February 2019.

Some improved displays and three successive wins in April weren’t enough to keep the Cottagers up but they were enough to convince owner Shahid Khan to name Parker permanent boss, with the retired midfielder signing a two-year deal.

His first full season as a manager was a successful one, with the west London side never out of the top half from the Championship equivalent of Gameweek 2 onwards.

The Cottagers indeed held a play-off place from late-November right the way through to the end of the season before sealing promotion at Wembley.

WHAT STYLE OF FOOTBALL DOES PARKER USE?

Parker’s preferred tactics, at least in terms of basic formation, are similar to those of Slaven Bilic.

A 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 were Fulham’s most-used set-ups in 2019/20, which were systems the West Bromwich Albion manager turned to in the Baggies’ promotion-winning campaign.

Brandon Kelley explains:

Parker frequently played a 4-2-3-1 last season, with Mitro as the lone striker and Harrison Reed and Tom Cairney as a midfield pivot. On occasion, Josh Onomah would push up to play off of Mitrovic for a 4-2-2-2.

You’ll see a fair amount of overlapping with the full-backs and wide-midfielders, but it has to be said that Fulham haven’t been a particularly fast side since the departure of Ryan Sessegnon. They will struggle to beat many Premier League clubs for pace.

For Parker, it’s all about one thing: possession.

The Cottagers were ball-hoggers extraordinaire last season, registering more passes and short passes than any other club in the English second tier.

Their passing success rate of 83.2% was the best in the Championship and was beaten by just the top four and Arsenal among Premier League sides last season.

Only Leeds averaged more possession than Fulham (58.3%) in the second division of English football last season.

From an FPL (and Sky) perspective, that’s a good thing when it comes to bonus points – although retaining the ball in the Premier League will be a much stiffer test.

Some cynics have suggested that Parker’s crab-like qualities as a player are now apparent in his Fulham team, with there being a lot of passing for passing’s sake and not much penetration at the end of their slow build-up play.

It seems an odd slur given that that they boast the league’s top goalscorer in Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.0m) but the criticism is not completely unfounded, with the Cottagers, despite being ranked first for passes, a lot further back when we assess other attacking metrics.


Rank v other Championship clubs
Passes1st
Goals scored7th
Shots5th
Shots in the box11th=

Despite the safety-first approach, they did concede on more occasions (48) than Leeds, West Brom and Brentford.

The Cottagers did beat all bar the champions of those teams for clean sheets (17), at least.

If there is one thing that Parker is unquestionably good at, it’s man-management.

The emotional scenes at the end of the win over Brentford were a testament to that, with play-off hero Joe Bryan saying of his head coach:

He’s very good at motivational talking. When he talks, everyone respects it – he’s been there and done it. It’s good to play for a manager you know is speaking from personal experience of being a player.

Always Cheating’s Brandon Kelley indeed told us:

Fulham suffered a number of key injuries throughout the season, perhaps most notably losing Mitrovic for their play-off run.

As a result, Parker has been forced to get more from his second-choice players, and Onomah’s impact at the end of Fulham’s play-off run is a true testament to Parker’s ability to adapt and motivate.

Parker will face a number of different challenges in his first full season in the Premier League, so I suspect he’ll be flexible throughout, especially given he’s too young in his managerial career to be stuck in his ways.

DOES PARKER LIKE A SETTLED SIDE OR WILL HE ROTATE?

Rotation: the scourge of the Fantasy manager.

The likes of Pep Guardiola and Graham Potter make life a nightmare for FPL bosses and team news writers alike and many of us long for a top flight full of Sean Dyches.

The attacking midfield and wide positions look particularly at risk for Fulham, with Anthony Knockaert (£5.5m), Bobby Decordova-Reid (£5.5m) and Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.5m) having made 28 substitute appearances between them.

Always Cheating co-host and Fulham fan Brandon Kelley told us:

Parker will happily rotate but Fulham’s squad won’t be especially deep, so I don’t expect we’ll see rotation among key players like Mitrovic or the entire defensive backline.

It was interesting to see Parker start Denis Odoi at right-back against Brentford in the playoff final, which not many supporters had anticipated, so that does speak to Parker’s desire to pick the right players for the right jobs in the right matches.

On the whole, wide attackers like Knockaert, Reid, and Cavaleiro will be most prone to rotation.

HOW DOES PARKER HANDLE THE PRESS?

A likeable character, Parker gives off the air of an honest sort in his post and pre-match interviews.

Those are the types of managers we Fantasy managers love, of course, especially when it comes to team news.

Always Cheating’s Brandon Kelley echoed those sentiments, although did cite a cautionary tale from the play-offs:

The press adores Scott Parker for many reasons: he’s handsome, he’s well-dressed, he’s humble, he’s English, and he’s generally pretty open and honest at pressers.

Just watch this interview given after the 2-1 Brentford win for a sense of how utterly wholesome he can be.

I believe Parker to be fairly forthcoming. But, you could point to his handling of the press with Mitrovic’s injury during the EFL play-offs as an example of him being less so. I believe that was a special circumstance, though, and don’t expect to see much of that this coming season.

WHERE MIGHT PARKER STRENGTHEN IN THE SUMMER AND WHICH PLAYERS ARE IN DANGER OF LOSING THEIR PLACE?

Fulham likely won’t make the same mistakes they did two years ago when they spent big on overpriced players ahead of their top-flight return.

Some level of investment will be needed, however, with a right-back and some attacking midfielders potentially on Parker’s shopping list according to our Fulham correspondent, Brandon Kelley:

Fulham desperately need a right-back as Cyrus Christie won’t be able to handle that position in the top flight. Wild rumours had linked 36-year-old Branislav Ivanovic to Fulham, perhaps looking for some experience to settle the backline (and join Mitrovic in some Serbian hijinks, no doubt), but after the disastrous signing of Andre Schurrle in 2018, I really hope Fulham will think twice before buying another Chelsea retiree.

Harrison Reed really impressed as a defensive midfielder on loan from Southampton. With Reed in front of the defence, Fulham appeared much more stable and found it easier to link with their attacking players. If that chemistry with Reed was as evident to Scott Parker as it was to every Fulham supporter, then the club will be desperate to buy him permanently off of his parent club.

In the attack, Fulham could use a bit more Premier League experience just behind Mitrovic. Some rumours have linked Ryan Fraser to the club, and I think it’s correct that Parker will be looking for some speed that will be able to break defensive lines and feed balls into the centre-forward.

Bobby Reid, Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro are all players who I would expect to sit on the bench if the right signings are made. Lesser-known players like Onomah and Kebano have at least proven they can adapt to Scott Parker’s tactics and play key roles in key moments, so they may stand a better chance of featuring throughout the coming season.

And if you’re expecting more spot-kick drama with Aboubaker Kamara, don’t hold your breath – he will become surplus to requirements.


Our huge thanks again go to Brandon for his time and insight. Keep your eyes peeled for two more Fulham articles in The Promoted series, which will be landing soon.

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1,251 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Loki the level 5 operative
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Apologies if already posted but is there a league code posted yet for the fantasy scout league?

    1. TorresMagic™ - 48n69x
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Not yet, hopefully sorted today.

      1. Loki the level 5 operative
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Will it be posted somewhere?

        1. TorresMagic™ - 48n69x
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          On the home page with all the other codes.

  2. Inazuma X1
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Didn't notice but DDG starts. Looks like Ole is still showing faith in him.

    But this could mean two things -

    1. Romero is being sold
    2. Hendo is going to be loaned

    1. Jealous Viper
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      It's unlikely Henderson is sold. Rumors are he'll battle it out with De Gea which makes little sense if you ask me

      1. Inazuma X1
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        When did I say Hendo is being sold? xD

        The thing about ''battle it out with DDG'' may be a facade

        Hendo - League Keeper
        DDG - Cup Keeper

    2. beric
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      I bet on 2

      1. beric
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        He would like it in Birmingham

        1. Christina.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          did you get your nirvana invite?

        2. Inazuma X1
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Heard rumours they're trying to loan him to a European side to get relevant experience and help him with ball playing abilities

  3. Brooksy86
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Utd v Inter final would be a cracke, wouldn't it?

    1. Wolves Ay We
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      No

      1. Amey
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Come on man !

    2. Zim0
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Cue Shaktar vs Sevilla

      1. Brooksy86
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Also has its merits

  4. Jealous Viper
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    With the number of premium options you can fit into your team, only person I have my eye on in City is KDB. Can't bother to be stressed by Pep roulette. Would captain him in the easier home fixtures and look elsewhere when he's away.

  5. Steirish
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Anyone have the fantasy football scout league code? thanks.

    1. TorresMagic™ - 48n69x
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Top of page, soon hopefully.

  6. Woy_is_back
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Everyone here playing fanteam? Prices are quite good

    1. beric
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      I think ill give it a go with one team this year, see what its like

      1. Woy_is_back
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Mee too. Will try to have same team as in fpl

  7. Wolves Ay We
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Most important team question. Which 4.0 Goalkeeper Fodder are you getting? 😀

    I blame Button for my poor season. 😀

    1. Jealous Viper
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Nyland but I'll keep an eye on the situation there

    2. beric
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Nyland if they dont sign someone else for sure

    3. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Nyland, if he looks like starting the season.

  8. Jdpz
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Ryan
    TAA - Laporte - Doherty
    Greenwood - KDB - Henderson - Son - Maddison
    Antonio - Werner

    subs: McCarthy - Mitrović - Vinagre - Ayling

    What you think?

    1. The Legend Squad
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Scared with no Salah or Auba

      1. Jdpz
        2 months, 5 days ago

        too dear

  9. The Legend Squad
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    This seems to be the template in my eyes...

    McCarthy
    TAA Saliba Taylor Vinagre
    Salah Auba KDB Greenwood
    Jimenez Mitro

    Nyland Douglas Davis Stephens

    1. Zim0
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Nice I'm way off template

      1. The Legend Squad
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Awesome... how’s your team looking?

        1. Zim0
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          I am superstitious 😛 i don't want to tell my team till the game starts. Sorryy! Don't want those minileague rivals knowing my strategy

          1. The Legend Squad
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Completely fair - good luck!

            1. Zim0
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 5 days ago

              Thankss!! You too! 😀

  10. Fordy40
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    I may be missing something, but what’s the deal with Vinaigre ? See that Jonny is injured, is he the natural replacement ?

    1. 3 A
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Yeah, Vinagre step up.

  11. Destroyer of teams
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Ryan (Nyland)

    Taylor Saliba Vinagre TAA (Douglas)

    Salah/Auba Bruno KDB Pulsic (Stephens)

    Werner Bamford (Davis)

    What ya think?

    1. 3 A
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Pulisic not fit...

  12. 3 A
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    How long Brandon Williams will play LB? Luke Shaw injured?

  13. bitm2007
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Are players from clubs who have been involved in CL and EL games since the restart of the season expected to report for international duty in early September ? If so none of those players will get anywhere near the well-publicised 30 days rest between season