Fulham boss Scott Parker insists 'only half the tie done' after first leg win

By Gareth VincentBBC Sport Wales
Neeskens Kebano celebrates
Neeskens Kebano scored in second half stoppage time to seal Fulham's win

Scott Parker brushed aside Neil Harris' suggestion that Fulham celebrated their play-off semi-final first leg win at Cardiff City as if they were already at Wembley.

Bluebirds manager Harris felt Fulham went too far after their 2-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium.

But opposite number Parker was surprised by Harris' view.

"Neil's obviously said a lot over the last week and few weeks," said the Fulham boss.

"I didn't see anything that was over the top. Certainly at the end of the game I just see a professional team that understood there's only half this tie done to be honest with you.

"Regarding the goals and the celebrations, yeah of course I see players who were pleased, and rightly so, to score two goals away from home.

"I think at the end of the game I see a real professionalism about us. We understand this is only halfway through this tie and we know there will be a challenge on Thursday. We will brace ourselves for that.

"If Neil felt like that, I don't really know why."

Having weathered an early Cardiff storm, Fulham took control of the second Championship play-off semi-final thanks to memorable second-half goals from Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kabano.

Harris, who had insisted in the build-up to the game that the pressure was on Fulham, felt the visitors over-celebrated after what was an impressive performance.

"We have to dust ourselves down and go again on Thursday," Harris told Sky Sports.

"I said to the players that the play-off finals I've made, we've been losing and we're at half-time and we're losing the game.

Cardiff face an uphill battle says Harris

"Fulham are celebrating like they've won the tie. We have to go to Craven Cottage and we have to be positive and that first goal is going to be key in that game."

No team has ever come back from a two-goal first-leg deficit to win a Championship play-off tie, but Harris insisted his team are not finished yet.

He pointed to the fact that, in June, Northampton lost 2-0 to Cheltenham in the home leg of their League Two play-off semi-final, recovered to win the away leg 3-0 and went on to gain promotion.

"It's an uphill battle now, but we have been written off time and time again this season and come back," he added.

"Fulham are now huge favourites, but they have everything to lose and we have everything to gain.

"There was a 2-0 deficit in the League Two play-offs. That does not mean it will happen for us but ultimately we need to be positive."

The second leg takes place at Craven Cottage on Thursday, while Swansea City take a 1-0 lead to Brentford in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

Top Stories