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Wilson feels Fulham belief growing

Harry Wilson feels Fulham are full of confidence as they prepare to travel to Blackburn tomorrow night on the back of a four-game winning run.

Marco Silva’s side hold a four point advantage over third placed West Bromwich Albion after beating the Baggies at Craven Cottage last weekend. The Welsh winger told FFCTV that victory was hugely important:

Saturday was massive. At the minute, we’re in a good place. We’re winning games, we’re scoring goals, we’re keeping clean sheets at the other end as well. Saturday was a massive game because with West Brom being the team directly below us, we knew that if we could go out there and get the three points it would open up a little gap for us. To put in the performance and get the win as convincingly as what we did, I think we put out a real statement.

The former Liverpool winger notched up his sixth assist as he produced a clever cut back for the Serbian to complete his treble on Saturday, but admitted that he has been disappointed not to add to his three Fulham goals in recent weeks:

I’m quite happy. I would have liked to get a few more goals. I think that I’ve had, I would have liked my goals return to have been a bit higher. I’m quite harsh on myself – but I feel like a couple of chances I’ve missed this season so far. I’ve just got to make sure I keep getting in those positions, improving there and helping the team.

Wilson explained that much of the confidence around the squad has been imparted by Silva himself, a key component in ensuring the 24 year-old chose Craven Cottage earlier this summer, and the head coach’s meticulous planning.

At the minute, we’ve got belief. We have all season because of the way he works, the way we build up to games and the analysis we do on the other teams. We know that we’re going into games with a definite plan. It is up to us as players to stick to that and, at the minute, it’s working because we’re on a fantastic run.

He knows that Fulham will face a tough battle at Ewood Park, with Tony Mowbray’s men boasting an impressive home record and sitting in seventh place.

It’s going to be a very tough game tomorrow night. They are on a good run at the minute off the back of a good away win at the weekend. It’s up to us to prepare right today. We’ll do our video stuff on them and make sure that we’re ready to put on a good performance tomorrow night.

Robinson revels in ‘massive’ win

Fulham full back Antonee Robinson felt the win over West Brom this afternoon sent out a ‘statement’ to the rest of the Championship about their promotion credentials.

The Whites swept aside the Baggies, who were third at the start of play, thanks to a hat-trick from Aleksandar Mitrovic at Craven Cottage and the American international was in doubt as to the importance of this victory. He told FFCTV:

“It’s massive. It is an opportunity for us to put a statement out there that we’re a serious team and we’re here to win as many games as possible. We come up against a strong opponent like that and I feel like we dominated the game comfortably so it’s a big step in the right direction for us.

“We’re putting in that form that we know we can do. Putting in great performances like that – if we keep doing that then the results take care of itself. It helps when you’ve got Mitro up front, who puts goals away for fun. Every time we serve it looks like he’s going to get on the end of it. It’s a big outlet. Especially playing against teams with high pressure you never know when you’re going to need to clear the ball, so having Mitro up top – even selflessly running in behind at times, but holding the ball up and laying it off to Keba and Harry Wilson, who are dangerous themselves, it’s a good recipe.”

Robinson praised head coach Marco Silva for instructing his side to press West Brom high – a tactic that Valerian Ismael’s men use themselves relentlessly – which resulted in the hosts taking a decisive grip on the contest before half time.

“Our first two goals came from putting high pressure on them and forcing those mistakes. That’s credit to the gaffer for realising that’s one of their weaknesses and we pounced on it.”

Mitrovic: ‘I’m in the best form of my life’

Aleksandar Mitrovic says he is in the ‘best form of my life’ after his hat-trick helped Fulham to see off West Brom and consolidate their hold on second place in the Championship.

The Serbian striker, a peripheral figure under Scott Parker as the Whites were relegated from the Premier League last year, has now scored eighteen goals in fifteen games this term. He looks rejuvenated under new head coach Marco Silva and told FFCTV after the final whistle:

“This is the best form I have had in my life. I feel good, I feel confident. In this team, on the pitch I know that I have a lot of quality around me, I know that the manager really trusts in my abilities and trusts in myself. We play good football, we have a good time – why not be confident? We show every game that our confidence is growing, that we grow us a team. Today was a big, big game and I will enjoy it before recovering to focus on another big game on Wednesday.”

Mitrovic was delighted with his second hat trick of the season that proved enough to decisively settle this battle between two of the favourites for promotion.

“I’m happy with three of goals of course. I’m happy with the performance. I thought we had a really good game, both offensively and defensively, both sides of the games. I thought we deserved the win.

I scored three different goals. I’m still ready always. I know the chances will come. I have quality players around me. Even when we are defending, we defend high and as a striker you always think what will happen and where you want be. I was in the right place, at the right time. Two goals were easy goals, but I think they come from staying sharp.”

He admitted that the penalty awarded against Kyle Bartley could have been considered soft and felt his second strike was a reward for remaining switched on even when West Brom held possession.

“The penalty was a soft one. I felt the contact and went down. I saw the video. It was a soft contact – you could argue if it was a penalty or not. The contact exists and that’s how the referee it. I practice penalties always after training. I knew where I was going. I stayed calm, take a deep breath and try to put the ball where I want.

We know they are a little bit open. We tried to press them a little bit higher to make them take a risk. Mika had really good pressure. I saw that Mika was coming and tried to predict that Mika would take the ball or something would happen. I tried to stay sharp and when the ball came I saw the chance, I saw the keeper was a little bit out of the goal, so I knew that I had to move quickly so I slide in to score the goal.”

Silva salutes ‘brilliant’ Fulham display

Marco Silva saluted a superb effort from his Fulham side after the Whites blew away promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion in the early kick off at Craven Cottage.

Aleskandar Mitrovic scored a hat trick to take his tally to eighteen goals in fifteen matches and the Fulham boss was delighted with the manner of his side’s commanding victory. Silva told his post-match press conference:

“I am really pleased, not just because we won the game, the way we won. I told my players after the match that they were brilliant. Everything I asked them, our plan, they did it in the way we prepared, and they enjoyed it. We knew before the match, we analysed out opponent, we knew they had a strong part and a weakness, and in their strong part we did really, really well. We deal with them, they are physical.”

The way we scored the first two goals. The way we worked to start to challenge all the moments, the way we pressed them. The first goal started from a moment we pressed them, a fantastic reaction from Denis, we pressed in the second goal from Bobby. It was a very good afternoon for us, congratulations for our players, they were brilliant, and our fans as well. Now it is a moment for us to rest and prepare the next one.

Silva was especially pleased with a third consecutive clean sheet.

“Again, we scored three goals, but for me doing it with a clean sheet, I am delighted. They know how important it is for me as a manager, how it is important for us as a team as well. We are an offensive team; our idea is clear what we are building here in this football club. But for us to play, to be comfortable in the game and in all situations, we have to be balanced.”

Mitrovic treble beats the Baggies

A hat-trick from Aleksandar Mitrovic ensured Fulham cruised through their lunchtime showdown with promotion rivals West Brom and consolidated their hold on the second Championship automatic promotion places. Mitrovic was the beneficiary of a generous refereeing decision when a debatable penalty was awarded against the unfortunate Kyle Bartley before profiting from a diabolical backpass from Robert Snodgrass to double the hosts’ lead. He completed his third Fulham hat trick from close range with eight minutes remaining, turning home Harry Wilson’s cross after a flowing move.

The only blot on Fulham’s copybook was the late sending off of Tosin Adarabioyo, so imposing on the back in recent weeks, for a horrible lunge at Grady Diangana. Adarabioyo will now miss Fulham’s next three fixtures and he was the second man to see red after Darnell Furlong was dismissed for bringing down Wilson as the Welsh winger bore down on goal. Marco Silva’s side were comfortable by this point – but the head coach won’t be happy with such a senseless loss of control.

An even opening saw Matt Phillips denied a clear sight of goal by a timely Tim Ream block before an innovative corner routine saw Neeskens Kebano tee up Wilson on the edge of the box, with the returning Jake Livermore getting in the way of a goalbound effort. Kebano, lively all afternoon again, tried his luck from range after the visitors had half cleared a free-kick but his volley flew fractionally wide. The hosts were attacking with increasing intensity, but the game’s decisive moment came shortly afterwards.

Denis Odoi, rewarded for his consistency since replacing Kenny Tete with another start, nipped in to pinch possession and fed Bobby Decordova-Reid, who burst through the inside right channel. He slipped a ball into the penalty area that Mitrovic pursued with Bartley and referee Michael Salisbury pointed to the spot after the Serbian ended up on the turf. Television replays suggested Bartley got plenty of the ball and could consider himself distinctly unfortunate. After a significant delay, Mitrovic stroked the spot kick beyond Sam Johnstone and into the bottom right corner.

Fulham might have had a second immediately afterwards when a sensational bit of skill saw Kebano bamboozle a couple of Baggies defenders to set up Jean Michael Seri, but the Ivorian blazed over from ten yards. West Brom managed a spirited riposte with Phillips shooting over when well placed and Bartley heading wide at the far post. Marek Rodak made a smart reaction save to claw Matt Clarke’s header away from the top corner after the Brighton loanee had been left unattended at a free-kick and the Slovakian goalkeeper had to be alert to claim Bartley’s header at the far post from a well worked corner.

But the visitors pressed the self destruct button five minutes before the break. Seri snapped at the heels of Snodgrass whose underhit pass had no chance of reaching Johnstone. Mitrovic latched onto the gift in a flash, sliding in to snaffle a crucial second to give Fulham some breathing space. It could have been vital had the Baggies taken several second half chances as Valerian Ismael’s side set out to prove a point after the break. A careless concession of possession by Seri saw Valerian Ismael’s side break at pace with Karlan Grant teeing up Conor Townsend but the wing back’s strike whistled wide.

They were still living dangerous at the back and almost became the architects of their own downfall again when a dreadful pass from Clarke put Kebano in the clear but the Congolese winger rolled his measured finish agonisingly wide of the far post. Adarabioyo blocked a Grant effort at the other end before a devilish delivering from Townsend presented Livermore with a glorious opportunity, but the England international skied his finish on the stretch from five yards. Any hope Ismael’s side had of a revival disappeared with Furlong with twenty minutes to play – with Salisbury showing red after he had slid in as last minute to challenge Wilson. The West Brom wing back again got plenty of the ball before his studs caught the Fulham winger.

The hosts could have quickly added a third with Decordova-Reid and Kebano going close before Johnstone produced a fine reaction save to keep out Adarabioyo’s header. He was powerless to prevent Mitrovic from completing his hat trick from a couple of yards, though, after magical footwork from Wilson along the byline. The Serbian striker now has eight goals in his last four matches – and appears unstoppable. Adarabioyo’s studs up lunge on Diangana apart – this was the perfect afternoon for Fulham.

FULHAM (4-3-2-1): Rodak; Odoi, A. Robinson, Adarabioyo, Ream; Reed (Carvalho 84), Seri; Wilson, Kebano (Cairney 84), Decordova-Reid; Mitrovic (Muniz 84). Subs (not used): Gazzaniga, Tete, Hector, Onomah.

SENT OFF: Adarabioyo.

GOALS: Mitrovic (pen 20, 40, 82).

WEST BROMWICH ALBION (3-4-2-1): Johnstone; Bartley, Ajayi, Clarke; Furlong, Townsend, Snodgrass, Livermore; Phillips (Diangana 59), Grant (Molumby 73); Hugill (C. Robinson 59). Subs (not used): Button, Kipre, K. Bryan, Reach.

BOOKED: Ajayi, Bartley, Snodgrass.

SENT OFF: Furlong.

REFEREE: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)

ATTENDANCE: 18,103.