“I do not assume I can say an excessive amount of!”
Harrison Reed laughs as he tries to search out the proper phrases to explain the cream jacket worn by his Fulham boss Scott Parker throughout the London facet’s shock win at Anfield final weekend.
“It introduced us three factors, so I count on to see him with the identical jacket on Saturday!”
Reed concedes Parker is “in all probability one of many best-dressed managers within the league” however there’s substance behind the model for Fulham now.
Promoted from the Championship final season enjoying front-foot soccer, they had been dealt a shock within the opening weeks of this marketing campaign, shedding 5 of their first six and written off as relegation certainties.
However by a mixture of intelligent recruitment, sensible tactical adjustments by Parker, and a outstanding spirit within the camp, Fulham are combating again in opposition to the percentages. With simply two defeats of their final 10 league video games, the good escape is on.
Their 1-0 win at Liverpool pulled them degree on factors with Brighton and only one behind Newcastle. These two sides have a sport in hand however Fulham have the momentum – and the idea.
It was putting that each within the build-up and within the aftermath of that victory on Sunday, Fulham’s gamers and supervisor made it clear that they had travelled to Merseyside intent on beating the defending Premier League champions. There was no parking the bus or hoping for fortune to fall their method.
After their early season setbacks, Parker and Fulham have strengthened their defensive base – and from there they now have the arrogance to place their attacking sport into motion. Even in opposition to the largest sides.
“From the primary whistle at Anfield we had been on the entrance foot, we had been controlling the tempo of the sport,” Reed tells Sky Sports activities, a number of days after the standout victory.
“I felt we absolutely deserved the lead we went into half-time with however in fact they’re Premier League champions and the sport can change loads and we needed to endure loads within the second half with out the ball and dig in. Then we confirmed a unique facet to us from the primary half, in order that was actually pleasing.
“It is an awesome feeling. You have a look at the league desk and, yeah, we’re down the underside and we’re combating for our lives, in fact. However once you watch us play we do not appear like a crew down there – and we actually do not feel like a crew that is down there in the best way the sport pans out.”
Meticulous element is what it is all about for Parker, who prepares his crew totally for every take a look at. Consequently, Fulham have learnt to swing from totally different programs and set-ups and develop into far tougher to beat than their league place suggests.
Quick-improving Reed, 26, is among the rising stars on this Fulham facet who’ve felt the profit. His starvation to boost his personal sport is obvious – and Parker and his teaching workers have created an surroundings of positivity and enchancment which is lifting requirements.
“The very first thing I seen once I got here in on mortgage at the beginning of final season was the quantity of element that Parker, Wellsy [coach, Matt Wells], and Stuart Grey [assistant manager], all go into,” stated Reed, who made his change from Southampton everlasting final summer season. “They depart no stone unturned.
“Preparation for the sport often occurs with a two, three-day build-up. Then, all through the sport, out and in of possession, we perceive every little thing the opposition can throw at us and the best way we are able to counteract that and damage groups. We go into the sport stuffed with confidence due to that – and it is exhibiting now with the outcomes in opposition to high groups.
“If you happen to see our day-to-day coaching, the quantity of element and focus we’ve in there may be very, very excessive. It is unbelievable actually, working with this supervisor.
If you happen to see our day-to-day coaching, the quantity of element and focus we’ve in there may be very, very excessive. It is unbelievable actually, working with this supervisor. My information of the sport now, from working beneath him day in, time out has grown massively.
“My information of the sport now, from working beneath him day in, time out has grown massively. I feel you’ll be able to see it on the pitch. The gamers are snug in any formation we play and any set-up we are able to change within the sport and the transition is fairly fluid. That is an actual optimistic and an actual energy of our crew.”
Reed, a defensive midfielder like Parker was in his enjoying days, has additionally seized the chance to faucet into the expertise his supervisor picked up throughout his profession.
“Particularly early on in my time right here we spoke loads and I picked his brains concerning the place,” stated Reed.
“I watched the supervisor when he was a participant and I understood what I felt he wished me to deliver to the crew and the attributes he was searching for me to deliver to every sport.
“After all, I communicate to him loads nonetheless about particular person video games and reflecting on video games, however I really feel I actually perceive what he needs me to deliver to each sport and to the crew, and that is doing the fundamentals very well and giving the crew a platform to go on and carry out within the sport.”
Technically proficient, as you’d count on from a participant raised within the acclaimed Southampton academy, Reed takes care of the ball in addition to Parker did, main the rankings for passing accuracy and dribbles amongst common English holding midfielders within the Premier League.
However he credit Parker for bettering him out of possession and turning into some of the harmful midfielders within the division, too.
“Within the academy it was very technical however I felt the facet of the sport I wanted to enhance on most was the tactical facet of it. My understanding of the sport and studying of the sport – and I feel that is what Scott’s given to me massively,” stated Reed.
“I hear to each phrase he says. He is on the sideline and he can in all probability see each image I will see and he is aware of the place the stress goes to return from.
“In my place, out of possession, if I am unable to get stress on the ball I have to be blocking passing lanes, I have to be making interceptions, profitable duels – and that is one thing he has given me much more than some other supervisor has.
“As a crew we need to be a superb footballing facet and I need to be a participant who’s technically good, who can management the sport, make passes, make assists, look good in possession… however the place I really feel I’ve improved loads this season is out of possession. Doing the nasty stuff, doing the soiled work, placing my foot in, disrupting the sport, making interceptions.
“I spoke about these issues with the teaching workers and the health coach early within the season about how I can affect video games extra out of possession and I feel that is one thing I’ve improved on and it is given me a platform to carry out in video games.
“Stats are checked out increasingly in soccer today and I used to be conscious of the areas of my sport I wanted to be higher at and I wished to be competing with one of the best in my place. I really feel like over the course of the season that has allowed me to step up and put in a lot better performances than at the beginning of the season and assist the crew.”
Parker’s dedication, enchancment, and laborious work took him onto the worldwide stage and Reed’s type has sparked discuss of a call-up, with England’s central midfield removed from sure forward of this summer season’s European Championships.
However for now, his consideration stays on the short-term. “My sole focus in the mean time – as cliched as it’s – is conserving this membership within the Premier League and I imagine we are able to try this,” he stated.
With Manchester Metropolis coming to Craven Cottage on Saturday and Parker’s in-depth preparations for the fixture ramping up, there’s little time to be questioning what this summer season might maintain.
However, unsurprisingly, Reed says he and his team-mates will embrace the problem with what’s turning into their signature enthusiasm and ambition.
“It is clearly going to be a really troublesome sport in opposition to Man Metropolis,” he stated. “Their model of play, how intelligent the supervisor is, how he units up his crew, how intelligent the gamers are, the power they’ve… That is clear to see.
“However it’s a problem we’ll relish. We will set as much as assault them. I feel away from residence in opposition to Metropolis it was one of many solely video games the place we weren’t actually within the sport and we need to change that this time. We need to be front-foot, we need to be of their faces.
“We have got plenty of perception popping out of the Liverpool sport and it will be a disgrace to not carry that perception and momentum into this one and provides it an actual good go.
“So we’ll put together for it as finest we are able to and we’ll go into it with perception and confidence and let’s have a look at what we are able to get from the sport – hopefully three factors.”
With that perspective – and Parker’s fortunate jacket – Fulham simply cannot be written off.