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Scott Parker will keep faith with play-off heroes at Fulham as he seeks settled Premier League squad

Fulham manager Scott Parker will be given more power than his predecessors as the club look to learn from past mistakes in the Premier League.

The 39-year-old, who guided the west Londoners back to the top flight on Tuesday with a play-off final win over Brentford, does not want to overhaul his squad after seeing the damage that did in the summer of 2018.

Two years ago, then-manager Slavisa Jokanovic spent £100million on new players but his side finished 10 points from safety in 19th.

Tim Ream, Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen had helped Fulham escape the Championship but were barely used in the Premier League. Ryan Fredericks and some loan stars were allowed to leave.

It upset morale at the club, while new signings Jean Michael Seri and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa flopped, and Parker has spoken of the ‘wounds’ he had to heal.

Parker wants to make additions — Ryan Sessegnon, who they sold to Tottenham for £25m last year, could rejoin on loan, Harrison Reed is expected to make his loan from Southampton permanent for £8m.

But the former midfielder, who won 18 England caps, is wary of upsetting the balance in the squad.

Jokanovic complained about his lack of input on transfers when he was at the helm but Parker has more power than the man who hired him as a coach in 2018.

Captain Tom Cairney said: ‘We lost the team spirit in the dressing room a little bit too soon last time. Team spirit can get you results.’

Another contributing factor to Fulham’s ill-fated Premier League campaign of 2018-19 was the appointment of three managers during the season. Asking players to adapt to the differing approaches of Jokanovic, Claudio Ranieri and then Parker in such a short space of time was too tall an order.

Parker will be the youngest current Premier League manager after Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and showed his tactical prowess on Tuesday as he told Joe Bryan to shoot rather than cross with his 40-yard free-kick when Fulham opened the scoring in extra time against Brentford.

He has also used press conferences to play mind games, as Sir Alex Ferguson famously did.

Last week, before their play-off semi-final second leg against Cardiff, Parker claimed Aleksandar Mitrovic could be fit for the final because the Serbia striker was back in training. It now transpires the Fulham boss was fibbing to leave his opponents guessing.

Mitrovic only returned to training the day before Fulham beat Brentford at Wembley, where he came off the bench.

Cairney said of Parker: ‘He is a young manager, a British manager in the same group as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Sol Campbell. I hope the country can use them going forward.

‘He has the intelligence and the tactical skill. We need to push young managers like that.

‘Obviously we don’t want to lose him — but I think he will go on to one of the top jobs.

‘When you get to the Premier League you have to bring in Premier League-quality players, and that is what the club tried to do (in 2018).’

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