Jose Mourinho struggled to understand Scott Parker’s dismay at the rescheduling of Fulham’s match against Tottenham for Wednesday.
The fixture was initially set to be played at the end of last month, only to be called off shortly before kick-off due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Fulham camp.
Mourinho fumed at that decision but was encouraged by the call to instead face Fulham this week as Aston Villa, their latest scheduled opponents, battle their own COVID-19 issues.
The Villa game has been pushed back, allowing Spurs to catch up on the Fulham fixture.
“The biggest impact is to have matches postponed, that is the biggest impact,” Mourinho said.
“The changing of the order of the matches, the impact is minimal because, in the end, you have to play 19 matches at home and away, you have to play two matches against every team.
“If it is to help the Premier League to go and end properly, I think it is a solution we all have to accept as a positive.”
Fulham’s Parker was less enthralled, having been set for a week off before the change was made on Monday.
“It was a possibility on Saturday afternoon,” said Parker. “I didn’t think it was realistic.
“We were then told on Monday at 0930 we had to fill in for Villa. I realise we live in unpredictable times. We have to move things and it is not ideal.
“I am normally the last one to moan or whine. To confirm a Premier League game at 0930 on Monday morning is scandalous.
“It’s not about the fixture. I accept we have to play but it’s the notice. The people making these decisions don’t understand.”
Parker played for Mourinho at Chelsea but received no sympathy from his former manager, still bristling at the nature of the December postponement.
“Are you serious? I had the news I was not going to play them two hours before the game started,” Mourinho replied when asked if Fulham could complain.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tottenham – Carlos Vinicius
Harry Kane has 35 London derby goals in the Premier League – second only to Thierry Henry’s 43 – but Carlos Vinicius, his deputy, will hope to get his chance to impress in the league. The striker scored a first-half hat-trick in the FA Cup against Marine but has played just 15 minutes from the bench in the league.
Fulham – Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Fulham have not played in the league since Boxing Day but are unbeaten in five in all competitions, with De Cordova-Reid playing a key role. The forward has operated at wing-back for much of the side’s improved run but has still scored six times this season – including the opener in the FA Cup win over QPR.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Tottenham have won 10 of their past 11 Premier League games against Fulham, losing the other 1-0 at White Hart Lane in March 2013.
– Spurs are unbeaten in their past seven Premier League London derbies (W3 D4) since losing 2-1 at Chelsea in February.
– Fulham have lost their past 13 Premier League London derbies, an all-time record in the top flight. The Cottagers also have the lowest win rate in such fixtures in the Premier League (19 per cent – won 25 of 131).
– Fulham have drawn each of their past four Premier League games, as many draws as they had in their previous 43 top-flight matches. The Cottagers last had a longer run of consecutive league draws between December 2006 and January 2007 (six).
– Parker’s side have earned four points from their past three Premier League away games (W1 D1 L1), as many as they had in their previous 13 on the road in the competition (W1 D1 L11).