“We didn’t exist on the ball” – Silva bemoans Fulham’s tepid first-half display in Aston Villa defeat

Marco Silva felt his Fulham’s attacking play was the weakest part of their underwhelming first-half display in today’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

Fulham fell behind through an Antonee Robinson own goal at Villa Park before John McGinn doubled their lead before the interval.

Ollie Watkins extended Villa’s advantage in the second half before Raul Jimenez netted a consolation for the Whites.

Although Fulham made a number of defensive mistakes for the Villa goals, Silva was more disappointed by how his team performed when they were in possession.

“What frustrated me most in the first half was the way we played on the ball,” he said.

“There were one or two moments where we should have created chances to score with the way we attacked them in behind, but in the first half we were poor on the ball. We didn’t express ourselves on the ball.

“We spoke at half-time and even though we didn’t change many things we just tried to adjust and show the players we have to be much better on the ball. Second half we did it.”

As little as Fulham threatened with the ball in the first half in registering just two shots at goal, defensive mistakes still put them on the back foot against a Villa side that cruised to a 13th consecutive home league win.

Robinson was in the wrong place at the wrong time as he turned home a Youri Tielemans cross after Berno Leno had missed the ball, and McGinn capitalised on Fulham’s inability to clear their lines to rifle in the second.

The defensive mishaps were compounded by Robinson giving the ball away at a Fulham corner before Villa broke and substitute Leon Bailey crossed for Watkins to score.

“It was a frustrating afternoon for us, Villa deserved the three points,” Silva said.

“We have to be consistent from the first minute. We are frustrated with the goals we have conceded this afternoon. This is the second or third own goal so far in 12 games – it’s too many.

“We have to be much more relaxed to solve some problems. We have to be much more calm and much more relaxed when the ball is around our box.

“For the second goal, two [Fulham] players clash with each other around our box. It is easy to solve that problem. They get the second goal and it makes everything much more difficult for us.

“For the third goal it was a corner for us, and we have to be calm and relaxed, but we gave the ball away again and were sloppy.”

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