Marco Silva laments Fulham low as he explains first-half triple change in Nottingham Forest loss

Frustration: Marco Silva’s first-half triple change proved in vain as Fulham lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest (REUTERS)
Frustration: Marco Silva’s first-half triple change proved in vain as Fulham lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest (REUTERS)

Marco Silva said his Fulham team failed to hit certain minimum expectations for the first time in his three-year tenure as manager, after their abject 3-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

The Cottagers went into Tuesday night’s game at the City Ground in fine form but were punished for a poor first-half performance after which they trailed 3-0 at the break.

Silva made a triple substitution after just 33 minutes — the second-quickest in Premier League history — but his side’s improved performance in the second half was not enough to avoid yet another disappointing result on the road.

Only bottom club Sheffield United have won fewer away games than Fulham’s two in the top-flight so far this term.

“The way certain things happened, it’s the first time since this long journey started in 2021 that something like this happened”, Silva said.

“When we don’t start the game the way we should, of course we are going to be punished. First half, we didn’t play. Everything was so, so slow.

“We didn’t do what we planned. We were not solid enough, we were not aggressive enough. We were losing almost all of the balls.

“Second half, we reacted, but the damage was already there from the first half. We completely dominated the second half, but it was already too late. Football is played from the first minute, not just the second half.”

Silva said of his remarkable triple first-half change: “It’s important to say, when I made the triple change, it wasn’t the fault of Harry Wilson, Sasa Lukic and Alex Iwobi at all.

“In that moment, the team needed much more changes than just three. As a collective, we were not there. It was a tactical change. We needed Tom Cairney and Willian to at least have the ball.”

Silva said this week that Fulham are a better team than last season, when they finished 10th, and that they are in a better moment than in December, when they thrashed Forest 5-0 at Craven Cottage.

“It [this defeat] will not change a single word of what I said before”, he insisted. “Tonight, it was completely the opposite, but that’s football. We have been doing really well. We have to be realistic. It’s been a very good season so far.”