Fulham beat Brentford 2-1 after extra time to secure promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and manager Scott Parker gave an emotional speech following the final whistle.
In an interview after the game, Parker hailed his players for the execution of their game plan as Joe Bryan fooled Brentford keeper David Raya into thinking he was playing the ball into the box from a free-kick, only to go for goal and find the back of the net.
“We did our due diligence on the keeper and he has an aggressive high starting position from wide free kicks,” Parker said.
“We looked at it, brought it up in a set-play meeting this afternoon and spoke to Joe and Harrison Reed, who would have been on the opposite side. I felt when we brought Mitro on, Joe was going to cross the ball because one of Mitro’s biggest attributes is heading.”
“I called him over but I didn’t want to try and let on to Brentford’s bench and their players so tried to bluff it and just said to Joe ‘listen I want you to go for it, commit to it and really give it a go and let’s see what happens’. Thankfully it has gone in, executed well and he has an unbelievable left-foot.”
The Cottagers then went on to score another goal as they attacked on the break with Bryan playing a neat one-two and slotting past Raya. Brentford then scored a header in the dying moments but it was too little too late for Thomas Frank’s side who will now prepare for another season in the Championship.
Parker expressed his emotions and described the achievement as the proudest of his career.
“Yes it is my proudest moment by a long way,” Parker added. “I think why I am so proud is I am proud of the players and the team because I have seen the team grow along the journey which has been tough this year.”
“I front it on the side and the players are the same and they go out and play, but underneath there is a support mechanism and who I am speaking about is family and close friends and it will be the same for the players.”
“I am probably proud and emotional for them because at times this year it has been very tough and difficult.”