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Fulham need to learn lesson from late capitulation at Aston Villa – Scott Parker

The Cottagers conceded three times in 10 minutes to lose 3-1 at Villa Park.

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Fulham manager Scott Parker says his team must learn from the Aston Villa defeat (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Fulham manager Scott Parker says his team must learn from the Aston Villa defeat (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Fulham manager Scott Parker says his team must learn from the Aston Villa defeat (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Fulham manager Scott Parker insists his team must learn from their late capitulation against Aston Villa if they are to remain in the Premier League.

The Cottagers’ survival hopes were dealt a huge blow as Villa staged a devastating late fightback to take all three points.

Fulham were headed out of the relegation zone with 78 minutes on the clock at Villa Park, leading courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s strike.

But substitute Trezeguet changed the course of the match with a quickfire double before Ollie Watkins added a third Villa goal in 10 minutes to complete an unlikely turnaround and seal a 3-1 victory for the hosts.

Parker’s side remain three points adrift of safety after squandering another chance to climb out of the bottom three, following a home defeat to Leeds prior to the international break.

The Fulham boss wants his players to learn from their mistakes and believes the Cottagers remain alive and kicking in the fight to stay up despite Sunday’s setback.

“After the first goal we dropped our intensity and it affected us too much and we weren’t streetwise enough,” said Parker.

“When you go into that mode in this division you can quickly find yourself conceding two or three goals, and that’s what happened.

“I thought we were pretty solid for much of the game but the last 15 minutes I didn’t like at all and it is something we will need to address.

“We need to be brutally honest, the last 15 minutes is not one we can brush under the carpet. We need to address that last 15 minutes because if we do that again we will not win football matches and we need to win matches and the games are coming thick and fast with only seven remaining now.

“It is something we must understand – understand why it happened. I know what I think happened, watching it. I felt the emotion of the game at 1-1 was too much for us.

“Sometimes in boxing, a fighter needs to take a knee to survive. But we didn’t have the mechanism to do that. It has got to be something we must learn – and we will learn.

“We are right in the race and we have put ourselves in a very good position in a short space of time and we are right in there with a fighting chance.”

Villa were without captain Jack Grealish for a seventh Premier League game, but boss Dean Smith was never in doubt there was enough quality in the squad to win without their talisman.

Grealish was expected to return from the shin injury which has kept him out since February but he was once again absent from the squad.

The attacking midfielder was not risked after feeling some discomfort while training on Saturday. He had been due to start the match after training all week but his comeback has been delayed and Smith refused to put a timeline on his return.

“He just felt some discomfort yesterday in training,” said the Villa boss. “Jack was all up for playing but he’s had discomfort but we’ve had to err on the side of caution.

“Jack wants to play more than anybody so when he tells you there’s still pain there then you have to listen.

“I don’t know when he will be back. I’m not going to stick a timeline on it because you’ll always get egg on your face with a timeline, so we’ll see how he goes.

“But the players have shown they can win without him. It’s a big win – a win full of character in the end. We believe we’ve got a quality squad, Jack just makes it better. We’ve got quality players here.”

Smith praised the impact of his substitutes in the victory, adding: “It was certainly a very good last 20 minutes or so.

“Sometimes you need players to make an impact from the bench and the three who came on certainly did that and lifted our performance. The subs changed the game for us.

“Trezeguet came on and did what I asked of him – made an impact. He has been a little unfortunate at times this season and I am really pleased for him.”

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