Parker - Battle only halfway through

28 July 2020 21:33:13 GMTPlus10

Fulham manager Scott Parker believes his team were worthy 2-0 winners in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final at Cardiff but acknowledges the job is only half done.

Cardiff twice went close to taking the lead in a finely-poised first-half, but the Cottagers grew into the contest and a moment of magic from Josh Onomah put the visitors in front four minutes after the break.

From them on Fulham, who finished the Championship campaign eight points better off than Cardiff, dominated proceedings and their efforts were rewarded when a delightful free-kick from Neeskens Kebano doubled their lead in injury-time.

Parker’s men had toppled Cardiff 2-0 earlier this month in a regular season meeting at Craven Cottage but news that star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won the Championship golden boot with 26 goals, was to miss out with injury had raised some concern.

However, the Serb’s absence had little impact as Fulham enjoyed 63 per cent possession and won the shot count 13-6.

Speaking after the match, Parker said: "Overall it was a good performance. We weathered the storm early on and got a foothold in the game.

"I think we're well worthy of the two-goal lead at this stage. We worked our socks off and our foundation was built on concrete, but it will be another huge battle on Thursday. This is only halfway through and we'll stand up to the challenge."

On Mitrovic's injury, Parker added: "He's picked up a little bit of a hamstring knock. We went into this game knowing it is over two legs and we made a decision for the team.

"Hopefully we can get him fit for Thursday."

Fulham are 2.05 to win the second leg on Thursday with the Bluebirds 3.60 and the draw is 3.50.

The Cottagers are 2.50 to be promoted.

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