Marco Silva felt Harry Wilson needed a goal after the winger came off the bench to secure Fulham a 1-0 win in their FA Cup third-round tie against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Wilson’s inswinging cross just before the interval in extra-time eluded his team-mates and City defenders to nestle just inside the far post.
It was rough luck on the home side and may not have been intended as a shot.
But that did not worry boss Silva, whose team had struggled for control in much of the game.
“I know Harry Wilson and I also know how much that goal will do for his confidence,” said Silva.
“In our last few games, he didn’t score or get an assist, so he needed that type of moment to give him a boost and will be much better for it.
“It was too long since we had played because of postponements that were not our fault, and we knew this would be a difficult tie.
“We were already aware of the number of games we still have to play this season and the tough test that would provide.
“Now we have another league match to rearrange because of this win. But it won’t change our approach to the FA Cup or our aim to win every match.
“I grew up watching the competition on television with my father and it means a lot to me, so we want to go as far as possible.
“Some players were not at their best today and some got very tired as the match progressed. But we were able to make changes that affected the game and ended it strongly. Now we have to recover quickly and move on.”
City boss Nigel Pearson was left to rue missed chances by his hard-working team, with Chris Martin, Callum O’Dowda and substitute Tommy Conway the biggest culprits.
In the end it took two world-class saves by Max O’Leary to prevent Fulham extending their lead in the closing stages.
“We could have been more ruthless in front of goal, but overall it was a good performance and I have no complaints about my players,” said Pearson.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from them and we played very well. The application was as I expect and I am sure our fans appreciated that.
“We were up against a very strong starting line-up and bench and gave it our best shot. Not every decision we made was right, but there was no questioning our commitment.
“The winning goal summed up our afternoon. But there were a lot of positives to take and the performances of all our young players involved were very good.
“Others were given opportunities and responded positively. Had we taken our chances, it would have been a different story, but we are where we are as a team and there are signs of progress.
“We have lacked consistency, but now I am continually seeing evidence of the effort, which must be a given if we are to become successful.
“Max O’Leary has taken his opportunity well and, apart from the two saves at the end, showed what a calm presence he is behind the defence.
“We had some very tired legs at the end and the lads are very disappointed, but we will recover before our next game.”
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