Marco Silva called on his Fulham players to take more responsibility for scoring goals after they ended a three-game winless run by beating Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
A smashing drive from Willian to open the scoring after 17 minutes at Craven Cottage was Silva’s team’s first goal in the Premier League since January 12, while top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic has netted just twice since November.
Fulham hit the woodwork against Forest three times, between Willian’s opener and a decisive 88th-minute goal by substitute Manor Solomon, struggling to finish off the visitors despite a largely dominant display.
Afterwards, the manager challenged his players not to put too much of a burden on the shoulders of 11-goal striker Mitrovic as he works to rediscover his goal-scoring prowess.
“We have to share goals,” Silva said. “We don’t just have a player to score goals, we have to divide the goals between our wingers, normally. If you look at the past, my wingers score goals.
“They have to arrive in certain areas to score goals. Our midfield has to score. We have to share goals, it’s not just the strikers who score.
“There were one or two moments where we lost the ball and that shouldn’t have happened. It gave them some dangerous moments, including a great save from Bernd (Leno). But until then we had created so many chances to punish them and kill the game.”
The win moved Fulham up to seventh, with European qualification looking an increasingly attainable goal.
It keeps them on track for the club’s highest top-flight finish since 2009, when the side under the management of Roy Hodgson also finished seventh en route to qualifying for the Europa League.
Despite their ascent, Silva insisted his goals have not changed from the start of the season.
“I want more and more and more,” he said. “We are working hard to win the next game. You are all waiting for us to change something in our goals, but it is not a time to change.
“If we feel there’s a time to change something, I’ll be the first to talk about it. At the moment it makes no sense.”
Forest manager Steve Cooper felt his side should have made more of their chances in the second half, with Serge Aurier and Emmanuel Dennis both coming close to equalizing when the score was 1-0. In the end, the fight back, briefly threatened by the visitors, failed to materialise.
“In the second half I felt like we were the best team by far,” said Cooper. “I was convinced that we would equalize, I thought it would be a matter of time. But we should have done better with the chances we got. We should have been more clinical.
“But if we look at ourselves, we should have played the same way in the first half as we did in the second. If you play like we did in the second half, you have to take your chances and we didn’t.”