Fulham manager Scott Parker says the club “owe no one an apology” after complaining about being given just two days notice to prepare for a 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham.
His opposite number, Jose Mourinho, had said before the game that his former Chelsea midfielder would have to say sorry if they were able to field a strong side. 10 of the players who started Fulham’s last top flight game on Boxing Day were picked in the line-up.
Harry Kane had given Spurs a first-half lead, before Ivan Cavaleiro rescued a point for the strugglers 15 minutes from time.
Parker had called the late decision to play the fixture “scandalous”, after Fulham were instructed to step in to play Tottenham instead of Aston Villa, who were dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, but Mourinho had no sympathy for their protests.
"Myself and this football club owe no one an apology because you can talk from the outside and people can see what they want to see and work out what the script was but it was far from that," said Parker.
"There were two players on that pitch that had trained one day, come back from Covid and had one day's training. Players had three or four days training.”
Mourinho on Parker feud: 'It's very difficult to keep secrets in football'
The match was originally postponed on 30 December, as the Cottagers had an increase in Covid-19 cases of their own after Christmas.
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“The issue was 16 days ago this game was scheduled in, since then 10 positive cases of Covid, staff as well, and then 9.30 on Monday we got told that we were playing in the game,” Parker added.
People need to understand the predicament we were in. We are not making it up. We have been very open and had worries for the safety of others too.
"That was my worry, so we don't need to apologise for anything. We came here with a performance and we go away with a pleasing result.”
Before the game, Mourinho rejected Fulham’s protests and after the final whistle, seemed to hint that he knew the west London side could put out near enough a full-strength team.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho during the 1-1 draw with Fulham
Image credit: Getty Images
"The reason why they were not happy to play today is a different question you have to ask Scott not me. But in the football world it's very difficult to keep secrets,” said Mourinho.
Somebody tells somebody who tells somebody who tells somebody and it arrives to somebody else. And of course we knew for a few days that they were ready and had the players to come.
"Aleksandr Mitrovic is not a Covid situation, (he) had a small injury from the last match.
"We knew that so it's something you have to ask Scott. But make things very, very clear. Of course they had problems and of course there was a reason for them not to play the game a couple of weeks ago."
Spurs could have gone two up shortly before Fulham’s equaliser, when Son Heung-Min hit the post, but Mourinho was more concerned about his side’s defending.
“We can talk about not killing the game yes, we can speak about that, and today was a clear situation where we could and should have killed the game in the first half but then you go back to the goals that we concede and it's not also easy to assimilate that,” said the Tottenham head coach.
"There are some things they have to do with organisation of the team, but other things they have to do with individual skills, individual ability, and it's as simple as that."