Fulham's Bryan hails manager Parker for playoff free kick success

Joe Bryan gave full credit to manager Scott Parker for the opening goal off a freekick as Fulham beat Brentford to earn promotion to the Premier League.

Joe Bryan

Joe Bryan (second from right) emerged Fulham's hero as his brace earned his side promotion to the Premier League.   -  Reuters

Fulham's two-goal playoff hero Joe Bryan gave manager Scott Parker the credit for the opening goal that put his side on track for a 2-1 extra-time playoff final win over Brentford and sealed its swift return to the Premier League on Tuesday.

As Bryan's team mates celebrated around him, the fullback revealed the content of a sideline conversation he had with his boss just before opening the scoring in the 105th minute with a free kick from deep that flew past Brentford keeper David Raya.

RELATED| Fulham back in Premier League after Bryan's extra-time playoff double

“(Parker said) whip it in the near post, because the keeper comes ridiculously far off his line. That's something we practised this week,” Bryan told Sky Sports.

Parker confirmed his instructions to Bryan, who added a second goal in the 117th minute to kill the game off.

“We looked at Raya's positioning from free kicks, he's very, very aggressive, he's very aggressive in his starting position,” Parker explained.

“I told him (Bryan), 'You need to keep an eye on his positioning, and I want you to commit to it, I want you to commit to the shot', and it's worked,” he added.

The 26-year-old defender's second goal came after a lung-bursting sprint to play a one-two with substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic before slotting the ball home and this time he credited his fitness regime during the novel coronavirus lockdown.

“I'm quite fit, you know! In lockdown all we could do was run. That's all I've been doing, running, and it's paid off today,” he said beaming.

Former Fulham captain Parker, 39, was delighted with his side's performance and gave credit to his players and backroom staff for bouncing back to the Premier League following its relegation last season.

“I'm the one that fronts it up, I'm the one that everyone sees but behind the scenes is a support network that keeps you going ... I'm very proud of my team,” he said.

 

He continued that Fulham will bring in players the next season but there will be no wholesale changes to the squad. “You can't build teams with drastic changes, drastic swings of players coming in,” Parker told British media.

“This team has been around myself now for the best part of 15 months and they have improved and improved and improved. I'm happy with where we are. We are going to need additions we are going into the biggest league there is but no drastic changes.

“Some clear errors were made last time and we will learn from that. We are going into the best league in the world ... and I realise the challenge ahead.

“I want to try and enjoy what we have done so far but we need to learn from those mistakes,” he added.

- Brentford boss Frank rues fine margins -

Brentford manager Thomas Frank was left ruing the fine margins in football as his team fell at the final hurdle of the Championship season.

“Of course, it's tough to take. I think we've had a top season in many ways. I'm extremely proud of this club, I'm extremely proud of the players, the staff,” Frank told Sky Sports.

“We managed to score the most goals (80) and have the second-fewest conceded goals (38)... but in football, it's the fine margins, and the fine margins were maybe not with us in some ways this season,” he continued.

“Definitely not in the final - you need that in the final, in a tight, tight final, the two teams cancelled each other out, you needed that bit of brilliance from Bryan, that was the difference between two good teams,” he added.

The 46-year-old Frank refused to blame his keeper for the opening goal, despite Raya seemingly being out of position and reacting slowly to Bryan's set-piece from distance.

“I will never blame David for anything. I think he's been a fantastic keeper for us throughout the season, and I think he is one of the reasons why we had the second-best defence this season,” he said, adding that he was not worried about losing any of his players to bigger clubs.

“I just know one thing - that when we start next season, we will have a very strong side out there again, and we're ready to push,” he added.

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