Even after defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday ended their three-match winning run, the message was clear: Fulham’s squad wants Scott Parker as manager next season.
The current caretaker boss has revitalised the previously sorry-looking side in a matter of weeks, eliciting courageous performances out of a team that lacked fight for the first seven months of the Premier League season.
Tom Cairney has been a constant source of support for Parker in the media, and the club captain added to the chorus of voices pushing for his permanent appointment after the Wolves match.
The 28-year-old signed a contract extension with the club earlier this week, which will keep the midfielder at Craven Cottage until 2024.
Cairney followed up his statement of intent on signing his contract by advising the club’s board to give Parker the full-time job this summer.
“I’ve said for a long time that I think Scott has done an incredible job and, in my eyes, I think he is the right man for the job,” he told Sky Sports.
“The way he has got us playing in such a short space of time, in the hardest league in the world, is a credit to him. I believe he is the man to take us forward so we’ll see.”
Cairney’s assessment of Parker’s impact is spot on. Fulham were at their lowest following a meek 2-0 loss to Southampton in late February, which was Claudio Ranieri’s last match in charge.
Even with relegation all but assured, Parker inspired a superb performance in the next match against Chelsea. Undone by the finest of margins, the Cottagers fell to a 2-1 loss but showed form that belied that of a side deep in the relegation mire.
In matches that followed against sides in the top half of the table, Fulham were unbowed, running Liverpool and Manchester City close before faltering against Watford thanks to a late collapse.
Then, with relegation confirmed, the shackles came off, and a three-match winning run followed. A previously porous defence maintained three clean sheets in a row — more than they had hitherto managed all season.
With Parker in charge, Fulham look like a side reborn. The ownership rewarding his efforts with a new contract would be hugely popular with fans and players alike.