Fulham find consistency at right moment to continue Brighton’s downward spiral

Rodrigo Muniz (C) - Fulham find consistency at right moment to continue Brighton's downward spiral

Fulham carried on where they left off in last weekend’s victory away to Manchester United, playing with confidence. And Brighton, too, carried on where they left off against Wolves in the FA Cup, losing after putting themselves in a defensive hole of their own making.

Harry Wilson and Rodrigo Muniz put the home side 2-0 ahead after 32 minutes, Adama Traore making it 3-0 on the break in added time as Fulham won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since November.

Adama Traore - Fulham find consistency at right moment to continue Brighton's downward spiral
Adama Traore came off the bench to add a third in second-half added time - PA/Adam Davy

‌“We deserved the three points,” manager Marco Silva said. “To get back-to-back wins in the Premier League is really tough and the clean sheet was important for us. The first half was almost perfect.”

‌His side were helped, though, by a Brighton performance that lacked any intensity and a team selection suggesting that the mind of their head coach, Roberto De Zerbi, might be on Thursday’s Europa League tie away to AS Roma.

‌He made seven changes to the team that lost at Molineux and although they were still able to weave their intricate passing patterns, something was missing. For one thing, whatever side their long injury list allows De Zerbi to put out in the Stadio Olimpico will have to defend much better than this if they are to return from the Eternal City with the tie still alive.

‌“We played without energy. In the Premier League you can’t play at 50 percent,” he said. “Fulham played a good game, not an amazing game, but good enough to win 3-0. They deserved to win. For us it is a very tough moment. But now we can change nothing. We have to play better, fight better and find the right energy, find a different motivation.”

‌Fulham enjoy playing Brighton, who have not beaten them in eight Premier League encounters, and this one turned their way after 21 minutes largely controlled by the visitors. Adam Webster and Pervis Estupinan made a mess of clearing up after an aerial tussle between Webster and Muniz. Harry Wilson ran onto the loose ball, cut inside and curled the ball past Jason Steele with his left foot.

‌Fulham doubled their lead 11 minutes later. No Brighton player made a challenge as the ball was worked from goalkeeper Bernd Leno, through defender Calvin Bassey then out to the right, and when Wilson crossed, Muniz got between Webster and Lewis Dunk to glance in a header, his fifth goal in as many games. Silva called it “an almost perfect team goal”. It was the sort of football that Brighton were successful in playing in the first half of the season but they seemed to have no clue about how to defend against it.

‌Fulham had further chances but Brighton passed their way back into the game. Evan Ferguson scooped a good chance wide and substitute Facundo Buonanotte hit a low shot against a post.

But in added time, Pascal Gross gifted the ball to Bobby DeCordova Reed, who sent fellow substitute Traore through to beat Steele.