Scott Parker is backing Marek Rodak to bounce back quickly from the goalkeeping blunders which cost Fulham two of the goals in Saturday’s shock 3-0 defeat to Barnsley.
The 23-year-old Slovakian has been a fairly dependable presence between the sticks since taking over from Marcus Bettinelli as number one in October.
But he gave away a first-half penalty after tugging back striker Jacob Brown – having spilled a long ball that should have been his. In the second half a rush of blood saw him race needlessly to the edge of the box, gifting the Tykes their second goal.
“He’s made two errors today Marek. He’d be the first to hold his hands up and say that,” said Fulham’s head coach.
“But the last thing I want to do is sit here and criticise him because he’s been nothing short of fantastic since he’s come into the team
The biggest challenge for Marek now – and I set the challenge to all of them – is during these moments let it kill you, let it burn inside you, of course, but the true character of great teams, the true character of great players are that when you come back in on Monday morning, you need to be brighter than you’ve ever been. You need to work as hard as you’ve ever done because the chips are down a little bit.
“I’m not going to judge Marek today, I’m going to judge him on Monday morning when he walks in the building and I hope he looks me in the eye and I hope he shows me in his first minute of training to the end that he’s going to improve and he’s going to keep going.
“He’s 100 per cent the kind of guy who does that. Today can happen to anyone. You have off days. But the most important thing for me is that they come in and work hard, put wrongs right and have a big week next week.”
Fulham were perplexingly bad against the side currently propping up the Championship. They were often outplayed and looked surprisingly low on confidence.
Parker admits he did not see the heavy defeat coming.
“It’s a big shock,” he said. “Didn’t anticipate or see that one coming to be quite honest with you
“I hold no excuses really. We were beaten by a better side today that had more intensity about them and at times we were second best. We didn’t deserve anything out of the game. They’ve come here with a real intent about them and we struggled to match them really.
“This is a bump in the road, this is what this league brings. You’re playing a team at the bottom of the league who are fighting for their lives and they can come and do to us what they’ve done today and we need to learn from that.”
Parker added: “I don’t think there was a complacency but for one reason or another, I thought we looked a little bit flat today. I’m bitterly disappointed and gutted and can only apologise for the performance today because it wasn’t what we’ve come to expect.”