Football, Premier League

Fulham vs Aston Villa: Villa climb back to 4th with help from Watkins double

Through a 2-1 victory away at Fulham, Aston Villa capitalised on Tottenham’s lapse against Wolves to return to the Premier League’s top four.

Halfway through the first half, Ollie Watkins scored a brilliant first goal (during which both teams had a goal disallowed) and then doubled his tally with a stunning second goal after Youri Tielemans found him.

Just after the hour, Rodrigo Muniz, who has been on a roll lately, sneaked in to score his fourth goal in his previous three games, giving Fulham a slight comeback.

That fired up the supporters at a frigid Craven Cottage, but it was unable to avert a sixth loss in nine league games.

They maintain their position in 12th, as Unai Emery’s Villa go up to a two-point lead over Spurs in fifth and an eight-point lead over Man Utd in sixth.

Fulham head coach Marco Silva:

“We knew how we should play to get a good result against Villa and, how we conceded the goals, we were too soft. Against these types of sides in the Premier League, against these types of strikers and forward players, we have to be much stronger and we weren’t, unfortunately for us.

“Overall in the game, the looking, the fighting, the desire and believing until the end, I didn’t see too many differences between both teams, to be honest.

“I didn’t see Villa on us most of the time, I saw a really balanced game. After it was 2-1, it lifted our confidence and we had chances to equalise the game – clear chances to equalise the game. In the second half, Villa had nothing apart from the goal.

“Unfortunately we didn’t score the chances we got and we were too soft with the goals we conceded. Even so, the players fought until the end. The belief was there, the attitude and the commitment was there as well.

“Football is to be solid as well, to keep the composure at the back in some moments. We conceded, unfortunately, and we were punished by that.”

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery:

“After our defeat in the last match at home in the Premier League against Manchester United, it was an important week to prepare for this game, staying very focused and trying to come back a good result and good feelings.

“I think it was fantastic how the players worked, how they were focused on the match and trying to impose our position on the pitch. We did some fantastic work and some players are showing their qualities in different moments.

“As a team, as a squad, I am very proud of our work. With some players being injured, some players will play in different positions to be versatile for the team. It’s fantastic because I think this commitment is very important.”

Fulham travel to Man United next on Saturday while Villa host Forest on the same day.

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