Scott Parker insisted Fulham’s use of the loan market in the summer transfer window was not a factor in their relegation from the Premier League.
The Cottagers’ most recent stint in the top flight lasted just one season after they were relegated on Monday following a 2-0 defeat against Burnley.
Fulham signed seven players on loan over the course of the 2020-21 season, all landing prominent roles in the first team – including Joachim Andersen who was stand-in captain for the majority of the season due to Tom Cairney’s lengthy injury lay-off.
It is not the first time Fulham have made use of the loan market, with nine players also departing for loan spells at other clubs, and Parker admitted it has had an effect on club culture.
He said: “The loan system is something we’ve used consistently, six or seven loans every year.
“So of course that has been an ongoing theme and that makes it a bit harder because obviously at that point the team gets changed the following season, in terms of continuity, in terms of message (it can be more difficult).
“I’m a firm believer of culture. I want to develop a culture at the football club and to do that there needs to be consistency, and loans don’t give you that, of course they don’t.
“But at certain times you need to take risks on that and the risk was this year, to stay in this league and to do that we didn’t want to spend a lot of money, hence why we’ve spent £10million on new additions and we went down the loan route.
“Next year, we need to sit down, work out where we’re going longer-term, how we want to see it – and that’s a conversation we (will) have at the end of the season.”
Despite the number of loan signings, which include Ademola Lookman and Alphonse Areola, – who have received plaudits for their exploits in a Fulham shirt this season – Parker said it did not impact performances.
He continued: “The one thing, you cannot point the finger at any one thing, it’s what the squad have given, what this squad are about in terms of the culture, in terms of how they’ve applied themselves on a daily basis.
“What you’ve seen on the weekend, in terms of your view of this team, or your snapshot of this team, is 90 minutes on a Saturday or a midweek.
“I think there’s other things you can point the finger at us and say we lack in this area, or we’ve lacked a little bit of quality…
“But certainly the loan players who have come into this football club have been nothing but exceptional in everything that they’ve done.
“Every time they’ve put on a Fulham shirt they’ve absolutely given 100 percent and we’ve been lucky to have them this year for sure. So that’s definitely not been an issue regarding that.”