Fulham boss Scott Parker points to Aston Villa progression as example to follow

Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
·2-min read

Fulham boss Scott Parker has pointed to Aston Villa’s progression since retaining their Premier League status as an example to be followed.

The Cottagers travel to Villa Park on Sunday knowing a victory could well see them move out of the bottom three.

Parker’s side go into the weekend two points behind 17th-place Newcastle, having lost their last two fixtures.

Villa survived relegation on the final day of last season and now sit in mid-table, having since invested around £90million in new players.

Dean Smith added the likes of Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Martinez and Bertrand Traore to his squad and Villa have racked up wins over established top-flight sides such as Arsenal and Leicester, also thrashing reigning champions Liverpool 7-2.

“For sure it does,” Parker replied when asked if Villa’s survival shows what additional finances and stability can do for a club.

“What brings staying in this division is finances, what the club wants to do and their ambition.

“It is down to each club and Aston Villa stayed in the league, invested last year but managed to add on to that and invest again this year with extra money.

“What comes with that is a team that is comfortable in this division, they have built a squad and a team that can be very good in this league.”

Fulham were relegated in 2018-19, with Parker taking over towards the end of the campaign before leading them straight back into the Premier League, so he is well-versed in the difference between the two divisions.

“What Villa did last year highlights that all clubs coming into this league see that the gap between Championship and Premier League is massive – there is no hiding from that,” he added.

“The money, the quality, the players are very, very good – the first season is to try and stay in the league and then build again.

“You want to take massive steps of course, sometimes spend a lot of money, or you take small steps and keep building – but what brings you those options is staying in the league.”