Scott Parker hailed match winner Aboubakar Kamara after the striker’s star turn against QPR and insisted the one time bad boy of Fulham was now a popular and well respected figure at the club.
The 24-year-old Frenchman of Mauritanian descent scored both goals in Fulham’s 2-1 Friday night win against Rangers in the west London derby.
They were his first goals of the season – he has made 10 appearances – and his first for the club since a 4-1 New Year’s Day defeat at Arsenal.
It was a welcome change of narrative for Kamara, who famously had a bust-up with team-mate Aleksandar Mitrovic in January during a yoga session, of all things.
Tension was high on the pitch too as the pair clashed over who should take a penalty against Huddersfield during the Claudio Ranieri reign.
But it got worse when he was exiled in Turkey at Malatyaspor following a training ground incident when he was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm and criminal damage.
He was surprisingly readmitted to the fold for the start of the season and this week repaid the head coach’s faith in him as the ideal replacement for a suspended Mitrovic.
“I’m really pleased for him. Abou’s not been a problem since I stepped into this role,” Parker said.
“Of course you’ve got to manage Abou differently, it’s not the same as how you manage some of the others. There’s one thing you can guarantee about Abou, he steps on the field over that white line, he gives you everything. I think we’ve seen that tonight.
“He topped off his performance with two very good goals – two good finishes – and I’m really pleased for him.
“He’s a liked member of the squad, you see that in the second. Maybe the perception on the outside’s very different to the reality and the reality is he’s a well-respected, appreciated member of this squad.”