Parker: "When they needed to win, they win"

Scott Parker gave his thoughts on AFC Bournemouth's season after the club beat Millwall 1-0 on the final day of the season.

Scott Parker on the touchline vs Millwall | By Zach Sampson

Following Bournemouth’s 1-0 win against Millwall yesterday, Scott Parker seemingly had the impression that his team did not get the recognition his team deserved, despite them finishing second in the Championship. 

Kieffer Moore's 81st minute winner meant Parker's side ended the season with a win and remained unbeaten in their final eight games of the campaign to narrowly finish behind league winners Fulham.

“The facts are at the end of the season, this team sits two points behind a team that everyone perceives as running away with it, and they did. They were a top side; we’re two points behind them," said the Cherries head coach.

The Cherries boss went on to commend his side’s ability to deliver results when they needed them, saying: “The facts are when this team needed to win, Huddersfield away, Blackburn away Nottingham Forrest at home, when they needed to win, they win.

"Everyone can say 'yeah, you should win,' well in football you have another 11 men around you, you have another opposition that are trying to win the game. 

“The facts are this team has showed massive, massive balls at time, massive, massive courage. Like I said, they deserve it, and not me, because they’re the ones that have to run out into the arena. I can help, I can develop but ultimately when the highest of pressure games have come on, they’ve managed to do that.” 

Parker was keen to make it clear that the odds have always been stacked against his side and was determined that Bournemouth got the recognition he thought they deserved. 

“This team came sixth last year, came out of the play-offs, sold a player [Arnaut Danjuma] that is now occupying the Champions League for 20-odd million. Sold Begovic, sold Rico, we’ve replaced them with kids, absolute kids. I’ve never been one to front it up like I have but why is that? I can front it up now because it’s done, and we got there. When it’s all said and done, people can say what they want to say. I think history tells you, it’s a lot easier said than done and full credit to my group of players. 

“This is a team where top players have left and have been replaced with category three academy players, players that have been released for however long. Whilst people want to see the big names, I get that and I understand that you’ve got so-and-so and you’ve got so-and-so but the facts are you’ve still got to get it done and they’ve got it done and they deserve full credit for that.” 

One of Bournemouth’s breakthrough players this season has been Jordan Zemura. The left-back joined the Dorset side after a being released by Charlton Athletic in 2019; he even spent a brief period time out of football where he worked as a glass fitter. The Zimbabwean international made his first league start in this season’s opening fixture against West Brom; he then went on to win the club’s player of the month for August. His first two goals for the club came against Barnsley in a 3-0 win in September. 

Parker has made this Bournemouth team out to be one of the more successful teams that have been relegated from the Premier League. 

“There’s a lot of teams in the Championship that I can name, but I’m not going to, numerous clubs that have been established Premier League clubs that are now sitting 14th in the Championship, sitting 12th, sitting whatever it is. Teams that have come out the Premier League last year with x amount of finances that haven’t got promoted; this is this team’s second season in the Championship.” 

The Cherries boss could be referencing the fact that the Boscombe club have avoided turning into teams like Stoke City and Sunderland who were once staples of English football and now cannot get anywhere near the top division. 

Parker went on to insinuate that his team’s achievement has gone under the radar, saying: “The facts are at the end of the season, this team sits two points behind a team that everyone perceives as running away with it, and they did. They were a top side; we’re two points behind them. We’re a team where at the start of this season, needed to get promotion and when it all comes down to it, we got promoted and they’re the facts.” 

Both Bournemouth and Fulham have taken up the automatic promotion spots whilst Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Luton will be trying to reach the promised land of Premier League football through the play-offs. 

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