‘I understand Jose’s frustration’ – Scott Parker also irked by late postponement

PA Sport Staff
·4-min read

Fulham manager Scott Parker understands the frustration of Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho following the late decision to postpone the Premier League clash between the two sides on Wednesday.

The match was called off less than three hours before kick-off after an outbreak of coronavirus in the Cottagers camp, and Mourinho has said he felt the handling of the situation was “unprofessional”.

Parker revealed he is unsure if his side’s next match against Burnley on Sunday will go ahead after the Covid-19 outbreak and, having already made one late adjustment this week, he admits he can see why Mourinho was frustrated.

“I’ve not spoken to Jose,” he said. “We were in exactly the same position as Tottenham were in. We were in a hotel, we didn’t know until late on as well.

“We were sitting 20 minutes away from the stadium, obviously ready to have pre-match and waiting around in the hotel, so it was late for my side as well.

“The places where that information went to on Tuesday… that information did not change until Wednesday. There was no new information come Wednesday so the information was there on Tuesday but for one reason or another it didn’t get postponed or called off until the time it was.

“I was in exactly the same position and I understand Jose’s frustration.”

Parker was reluctant to go into the specifics concerning the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak but revealed retesting has taken place and results should be available before his team head to the north west to take on Sean Dyche’s men.

The former England international was forced to self-isolate himself after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus, missing the goalless draw with Southampton on Boxing Day.

But despite all the recent distractions, Parker insists his focus is on getting a result at Turf Moor after a run of four consecutive draws.

“The players that have tested positive are obviously now in isolation,” he said. “They are following the Government protocols that have been set out for everyone.

“I don’t really want to get into the real specifics of it but we had a number of positive tests.

“I don’t know whether the Burnley game is going to get played or not, I’m not sure. We’ve had retesting, we’ve had ongoing testing over the last days.

“What I do know is I’ve got a bunch of players here and we’re preparing as best we can to go up to Burnley and really put in a performance to try and get some points.

“Regarding the other stuff, we’ll leave that in the hands of the people and the places to be and over the coming hours, whatever comes back in terms of the last round of testing.

“For me the main focus is going full steam ahead to try and prepare a team to go and get a result at Burnley.”

West Brom manager Sam Allardyce has called for a temporary halt to the season amid the rising number of cases but the Premier League has said it has no current plans to change its coronavirus protocols.

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho branded the handling of the postponement ‘unprofessional’ (Mike Egerton/PA)

Parker believes stopping football would be a backwards step after so much work has gone into getting players on the pitch again, and he is putting his faith in the powers that be to make the correct decisions.

“I don’t like the idea of stopping the game because we’ve worked so hard to get into this position in terms of teams and players so it’s not something I want to do,” he said.

“Are our protocols strong enough? I don’t know. There is a new strain. I don’t know if the protocols are strong enough for this new strain which seems to be more contagious and spreading more quickly. I am sure that is something that the people in the right places are obviously looking into.

“I think there are a number of factors for me and that’s the wellbeing and safety of players, their families, the places were are going into, whether that is hotels or that’s travel or opposition teams.

“And also the integrity of the game as well. Because they say 14 players is the cut-off line for a team to have. I am not sure it is right that you go with 14 players with a three-man bench.

“I am not sure that we want that really as a competition, in terms of the game and the league that we all want.”