Marco Silva called on his Fulham players to take greater responsibility for scoring goals after they ended a three-match scoreless run by beating Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
A fizzing drive by Willian that opened the scoring after 17 minutes at Craven Cottage was the first goal Silva’s team had netted in the Premier League since January 12, while top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic has now scored just twice since November.
Fulham struck the woodwork three times against Forest, in between Willian’s opener and a clinching goal in the 88th minute by substitute Manor Solomon, and struggled to finish the visitors off despite a largely dominant display.
Afterwards, the manager challenged his players not to let too heavy a burden fall on the shoulders of 11-goal striker Mitrovic while he works to rediscover his scoring touch.
“We have to share goals,” said Silva. “We don’t have just a player to score goals, we have to share goals between our wingers, normally. If you look to 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 on the strikers who score.
“There were one or two moments where we lost the ball and shouldn’t have. It gave them some dangerous moments, one great save from Bernd (Leno). But until then, we had created so many chances to punish them and to kill the game.”
The win saw Fulham climb to seventh with European qualification looking an increasingly attainable goal.
It keeps them on track for the club’s highest finish in the top flight since 2009, when the side managed by Roy Hodgson also came seventh en route to qualifying for the Europa League.
Despite their ascent, Silva insisted that his objectives from the start of the season have not changed.
“I want more and more and more,” he said. “We work hard to win the next match. All of you are waiting for the moment we are going to change something in our goals, but it’s not a moment to change.
“When we feel there is a moment to change something, I will be the first to talk about it. Right now, it doesn’t make sense.”
Forest manager Steve Cooper felt his side should have made more of their second-half chances, with Serge Aurier and Emmanuel Dennis both going close to equalising when the score was 1-0. In the end, the fightback briefly threatened by the visitors did not materialise.
“In the second half I feel we were by far the best team,” said Cooper. “I was convinced that we would equalise, I thought it would be a matter of time. But we should have done better with the chances that we had. We should have been more clinical.
“But we look at ourselves, we should have played in the first half like we did in the second. When you play like we did in the second half, you have to make the best of your opportunities, and we didn’t do that.”