Fulham live up to 'Robin Hood' label as Marco Silva's half-time blast comes too late

Marco Silva sat in the away dugout with his hands in his lap, staring into the distance as his players returned from the tunnel for the second half.

Fulham did improve after his half-time rollicking, but as he said after this dismal defeat: “It was already too late.”

This was an unforeseen off-night for Fulham, and one that curbed their impressive form.

They have grown into the season and a top-half finish is still within reach. But it is difficult to see how they can climb higher than their position of 13th when only bottom side Sheffield United have fewer away wins than their two.

Nottingham Forest dominated the first half last night — Fulham a totally different proposition from the well-drilled, counter-attacking side that beat Tottenham last month.

And Silva’s exasperation was clear when he made the second-earliest triple substitution in Premier League history after just 33 minutes. With Forest two goals up, Tom Cairney, Adama Traore and Willian replaced Alex Iwobi, Harry Wilson and Sasa Lukic. Fulham kept the ball better after that, but not well enough to prevent the brilliant Morgan Gibbs-White rolling in Forest’s third on the stroke of half-time.

“When I made the triple change, it wasn’t the fault of Harry Wilson, Sasa Lukic and Alex Iwobi at all,” Silva said. “In that moment, the team needed much more changes than just three. We needed Tom Cairney and Willian to at least have the ball.”

Silva said the first half was the first time in his three-year tenure his side had failed to hit certain minimum expectations he demands.

Bernd Leno lost his orientation as Chris Wood struck Forest’s second goal from long range, Calvin Bassey had a tough night at the back and Rodrigo Muniz never looked like adding to his eight goals in 2024. Tosin Adarabioyo’s glancing header proved a consolation.

Silva said this week that Fulham are a better team than when they beat Forest 5-0 at Craven Cottage in December.

But his side were jokingly labelled the Robin Hood of the Premier League recently, taking points off the rich and giving them to the poor.

Wins over Arsenal, United and Spurs mean little when they then lose against Forest, Burnley, and fail to beat Sheffield United. Fulham must address their inconsistency.