Fulham’s scoring woes continued as their missed opportunities saw them held to a goalless Premier League draw with Everton at Craven Cottage.

After last week’s exit from both the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, the west Londoners failed to bounce back with a win over an Everton side, who now sit in the bottom three following Luton’s 4-0 victory over Brighton.

Raul Jimenez, who scored four goals in December, could not replicate last month’s success before Rodrigo Muniz was largely anonymous when called upon in the second half.

Fulham started with purpose. After Andreas Pereira’s earlier strike sailed over the crossbar, Antonee Robinson forced Jordan Pickford into action when he cut onto his weaker right foot and won a corner for the hosts with a driven effort from range.

After last week’s poor showing in front of goal during both cup defeats, the Cottagers’ lack of cutting edge seemed to continue when Jimenez’s shot managed to go out for a throw-in instead of hitting the target.

And they almost rued their missed opportunities when Everton failed to convert the chance of the match in the 24th minute.

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno parried Ashley Young’s curling free-kick into the path of James Tarkowski, who looked set to tap the Toffees ahead.

Towering defender Issa Diop had other ideas, positioning himself perfectly and nodding Tarkowski’s rebounded effort onto the crossbar before a herd of white shirts swarmed the six-yard area and kept the scores level.

Pereira continued to bombard the Everton goal with pot shots but it was Jimenez who would be the most frustrated after another glaring miss.

Pickford’s save from a Timothy Castagne shot gave the Mexico international a golden opportunity to score into an open net but he opened his body up too much and missed the target from close range.

Jimenez’s first-half display saw him substituted at the break and it was Everton’s striker who looked the most dangerous when Dominic Calvert-Lewin rose highest from a corner and clipped the crossbar, nearly edging the visitors ahead.

On the hour mark, Castagne won a flick-on from a set-piece and was also denied by the woodwork as both sides’ frustrations began to grow.

The momentum continued in the hosts’ favour but a remarkable save from England number one Pickford kept it even.

Willian – who had been a shadow of his usual self – jinked past his man and delivered a well-weighted cross to Tosin Adarabioyo, whose header looked destined for the top corner but was denied by Pickford’s acrobatic fingertip stop.

Eddie Howe praised the resilience of his Newcastle side after their 2-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage saw them progress to the FA Cup fifth round for just the second time in 18 years.

Only once since 2006 have the Magpies reached the competition’s last-16, when the side managed by Steve Bruce fell at the quarter-final stage against Manchester City.

Howe emphasised the importance of the club’s last shot at winning a trophy this campaign after they despatched Marco Silva’s team in west London.

“It was a big result for us,” he said. “We knew we wanted to progress. It’s our last chance at silverware this season so I think the expectation from us internally was that we had to give it everything to try and get through.

“I didn’t think it was the most fluent performance we’ve ever delivered but we got the major things right which were resilience, really good character and attitude. We improved in the game, we got better in the second half.

“It’s a competition that we want to do well in. Hopefully there’s more to come.”

Newcastle took the lead six minutes before half-time and Fulham had themselves to blame.

A free-kick hoisted over from the right was dealt with indecisively by the home side’s defence, as two players got in each other’s way in a doomed attempt to clear. From there, the ball dropped to Sean Longstaff, who with a confident swing of his left foot fired Howe’s side in front.

VAR was called upon to adjudicate on a possible handball against Bruno Guimaraes as the ball pinged loosed inside the box, but the goal was deemed legitimate and Newcastle led.

Earlier, Rodrigo Muniz had had Fulham’s best chance of the half, striking low towards Martin Dubravka’s bottom corner and drawing a superb stop from the goalkeeper, who clawed it away at full stretch.

Newcastle doubled their lead on the hour mark, Sven Botman rising to thump a powerful header at goal from Kieran Trippier’s corner. Marek Rodak beat it away with two firm hands but could not get it clear of danger and Dan Burn tapped home.

The result brought welcome respite to what has been a torrid patch of away form for Newcastle, after five consecutive league defeats on the road.

“It’s strange because you look at us in the cups and we’ve been OK (away),” said Howe. “We just haven’t carried it across to the Premier League form, which has been a huge frustration. But I don’t see any reason why we can’t start winning away from home.

“We prided ourselves last year on being hard to score against. We’ve got the players to score at the other end. It’s been missing this year, but hopefully that will return quickly.”

Fulham boss Silva reflected on a a second cup exit in a week following Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool.

“That is football sometimes,” he said. “You play well but the key moments were not clear for us and that is our fault. The chances that we did create, with the amount that we created, we should have been more ruthless.

“We arrived so many times in dangerous areas that we have to better decide the last action, the pass or the finish. We have to be stronger in those situations, on the set pieces and with our finishing.”

Newcastle showed signs of being back to their best as they knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Sean Longstaff scored in the first half before Dan Burn dealt the final blow to Marco Silva’s men in the fourth-round tie.

Newcastle, who last played on January 13 and are without a league win in four, looked fresh as they inflicted more cup misery on Fulham, ending their hopes of silverware following their Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool earlier this week.

The west Londoners were sloppy in possession and after Marek Rodak bailed his team-mates out with a quick-thinking stop to deny Kieran Trippier’s cross-shot, Anthony Gordon’s long-range effort missed the target, whistling past the Fulham goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

Rodrigo Muniz was given a rare start and the Brazil forward was taking his opportunity, forcing a fingertip save from Martin Dubravka before his turn of pace saw Fabian Schar give away a yellow card on the break after 21 minutes.

Fulham lacked cohesion after manager Silva made seven changes from the XI that played in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup exit.

A great chance went begging for Newcastle when Alexander Isak rounded the keeper but failed to pull the trigger in time as the ball trickled out for a goal-kick.

But Newcastle breached Fulham’s defence as the hosts’ frailties continued into the 39th minute.

Trippier tested the waters with another inswinging cross which seemed routine for Fulham to deal with.

Kenny Tete and Bobby De Cordova-Reid ran into each other instead of clearing their lines before the ball fell to Longstaff, who powered home from inside the area.

Silva turned to the bench in the form of the experienced Willian and the Brazilian swung the momentum in the Cottagers’ favour.

After the winger’s long-range goal was chalked off for offside, he enjoyed neat touches and exchanges around the Newcastle area as Silva’s side searched for an equaliser.

But it was the Magpies who punished the home side after they failed to clear their lines once again in the 61st minute.

Trippier’s corner found Sven Botman, whose header had too much power for Rodak keep hold of the ball.

The Cottagers’ back-up keeper parried the ball into the path of Burn, who finished first-time from inside the six-yard area.

Eddie Howe has admitted that star midfielder Joelinton could be sold this summer as Newcastle wrestle with financial restrictions.

The Magpies have spent the last week resisting overtures from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for England full-back Kieran Trippier, while strikers Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron have also been linked with moves away from Tyneside after chief executive Darren Eales revealed that the club might have to trade players to comply with Premier League profit and sustainability rules.

Negotiations over a contract extension for Joelinton, who has 18 months remaining on his existing deal, have stalled, prompting suggestions the £40million Brazilian may have played his last game for the club after undergoing surgery which will rule him out for the rest of the season.

Asked if that could prove the case, head coach Howe replied: “I’m not a fortune-teller and I certainly hope that is not the case. There is a possibility that could be the case, but I don’t know.

“Eighteen months [left on a contract] is a vulnerable time for a club. The club will need to tie Joe down to a longer-term contract or there is a possibility he will be sold in the summer. That is just the reality of the situation.”

However, Howe added: “As his manager, I’m determined for him to stay. I love him as a person and a player, so that would be my wish, for him to sign a long-term contract.

“But of course there’s more to it than that. There’s Joe’s wishes and what he wants. Before he signs a contract he has to be entirely happy with everything. We’re not at that stage yet.”

Howe would have much preferred to have spent his club’s mid-winter break fully concentrating on Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Fulham, but in the event, found himself fending off approaches for players he regards as key components of his squad.

To his relief – to date, at least – the club’s owners, who met in Alnwick on Thursday evening to discuss the way forward – have resisted moves for England duo Trippier and Wilson, while Paraguay international Almiron’s situation remains similarly unchanged.

Trippier’s future in particular has been under scrutiny with Bayern having tabled a a loan bid and two cash offers before apparently abandoning their interest after receiving no encouragement.

Howe said: “We’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week and it’s always been about Newcastle, and I think it was very important that I made that clear and got that out there to everybody, that his commitment to Newcastle shouldn’t be questioned.”

On Wilson, who was wanted on loan by Atletico Madrid and has since been linked with Chelsea and West Ham despite currently being out of action with a calf injury, he added: “When you look, we have two strikers and one of them is injured, so we have one fit striker. It doesn’t make sense.”

Howe, who confirmed Newcastle had ended their interest in a loan deal for Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips for “financial reasons”, also admitted the club is not close to making a signing this month and may ultimately do no business despite Joelinton’s unavailability.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is confident Kieran Trippier will stay with the club after they resisted Bayern Munich’s attempts to prise him away.

The 33-year-old England full-back was the subject of three separate offers from the Bundesliga champions earlier this week, all of which were rejected by the Magpies.

Howe, who has also seen strikers Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron linked with moves away from Tyneside before next Thursday’s transfer deadline, insisted Trippier – the first man signed by the club’s new owners following their takeover in October 2021 – never wanted to leave.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Fulham, he said: “We obviously hope he’ll stay – and I’m very confident he will – and be part of our long-term future, but I have to make it clear that he’s never asked to leave or even questioned his future here. He’s always been fully committed.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week and it’s always been about Newcastle, and I think it was very important that I made that clear and got that out there to everybody, that his commitment to Newcastle shouldn’t be questioned.”

Bayern said they had ended their pursuit on Wednesday evening after being given no encouragement, and asked if he considered the matter over, Howe added: “His situation is finished as far as everyone is concerned, Kieran, myself.

“I’ve just been in football long enough to never ever say 100 per cent because I don’t want to look stupid, but Kieran is 100 per cent committed and we definitely want to keep him.”

Wilson has been linked with a series of clubs this week after chief executive Darren Eales admitted the club would have to trade players in future windows in order to comply with spending restrictions.

But Howe said: “In every conversation that I’ve had with Callum – very similar to Kieran – he’s 100 per cent committed to Newcastle. No part of him is looking elsewhere.

“He wants to come back and score goals, he’s got big ambitions for the second half of the season and we want to keep him here.

“Obviously some things are out of my control and of course the club is acting within the long-term interests of the club and has to, and I understand that and am fully supportive of it, so let’s see what happens.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been quick to play down early talk of another quadruple bid after booking their place in the Carabao Cup final.

The Reds were chasing four trophies two years ago when they beat Chelsea – who they will again face in next month’s final – at Wembley.

In that season Klopp’s side played every match they were eligible for but finished with only a domestic cup double after being pipped to the Premier League title on the last day by Manchester City and losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

This time around they again have their sights on a four-trophy haul, sitting top of the Premier League having reached the last 16 of the Europa League and face Championship opponents Norwich in the FA Cup on Sunday.

“I didn’t think about it to be honest because we are far off having ‘four finals’,” said Klopp, less than 24 hours after their 3-2 semi-final aggregate win over Fulham.

“We have qualified for one. It makes no sense to plan the next one before you have played the first one.

“The competitions are not made so that someone wins all of them. It’s just the number of games. I saw that the final is on February 25 and if we win on Sunday then the next round of the FA Cup will be three days later.

“It’s very unlikely we reach all three finals, it’s just the nature of it.”

The disquiet continues over the decision for Mohamed Salah to leave Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations base in Ivory Coast to return to Merseyside for treatment on a hamstring injury.

Egypt’s doctor Mohamed Abou El-Ela reportedly told African media Salah did not want to come back and claimed Klopp revealing he would be leaving before the national team had chance to announce it had caused problems.

While Klopp apologised if he spoke out of turn he stressed both parties wanted the best for their prized asset.

“Most people in Egypt understand the situation because we have exactly the same target as Egypt – make Mo fit as quick as possible,” he added.

“That’s all we want and that’s how it always is. If a player is injured we try everything to help him to get fit as quick as possible.

“All parties agreed that it makes sense he is doing rehab here. We have a season to play so we want him fit but if he is fit earlier then as long as Egypt is still in the tournament he will go back, that is clear. Then it’s a win-win.

“If I said something too early – I knew there were discussions that he might come home but I didn’t know if that was already sorted – and then someone tells me ‘How can you say that?’ then I’m sorry, it wasn’t intentionally wrong.”

Midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai is expected to return from a hamstring injury at the weekend after four matches out but Klopp does not yet know if right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee) will be available for training on Friday.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s game plan and admitted his players “understood” the occasion better than Fulham after Wednesday night’s 1-1 Carabao Cup semi-final draw booked their place in the final thanks to a 3-2 aggregate win.

Luiz Diaz’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Issa Diop’s 76th-minute equaliser but the Cottagers could not find another at Craven Cottage as the Reds set up a Wembley showdown with Chelsea.

Klopp praised Liverpool’s second-half performance, where they soaked up pressure and frustrated Marco Silva’s men.

“They came out and they pressed for a while, but we understood the game slightly better,” Klopp said.

“I liked the second half as well. We should’ve scored, there were two situations.

“I think the counter-attack, everything was perfect and then Lucho (Diaz) doesn’t find the right player – which was a little bit of a shame – and when Harvey (Elliott) could shoot with his slightly-weaker right foot, we could’ve put the game to bed, but we didn’t.”

Liverpool were far from their best on the night and missed the presence of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Klopp knew the occasion would not be an easy one against their Premier League rivals but a solid team performance saw the visitors capitalise on their 2-1 first-leg advantage at Anfield.

“It was just a good game, a good cup game,” Klopp added.

“Whoever expected tonight that we just show quality and we get through and this will be a walk in the park doesn’t understand the game and doesn’t understand the importance of the occasion.

“Both teams wanted to go to Wembley – and we qualified and that’s all we could wish for.”

Joe Gomez continued to feature at left-back in place of the injured Andy Robertson and rarely put a foot wrong against Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Klopp added: “He played exceptional today again. He’s a real defender and he comes inside. He’s doing that really well.

“He is a life-saver, to be honest, that he was here, that he could play and people forget how important Joey (Gomez) was in the best years we had.

“I don’t know how many games he played in the year when we became champions and how many games he played when we won the Champions League. A lot and rightly so because he’s a top-class player.”

Jurgen Klopp was delighted his Liverpool side matched Fulham’s desire to reach the Carabao Cup final after the Reds secured their place at Wembley with a spirited 1-1 second-leg draw at Craven Cottage.

Luis Diaz put the Reds in the driving seat in the first half and despite Issa Diop’s 76th minute equaliser giving Fulham late hope, Liverpool sealed a 3-2 aggregate win after their 2-1 victory at Anfield earlier this month.

Klopp lauded his side’s spirit in the late stages as they now ready themselves for a repeat of the 2022 final against Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea.

“We were just ready for this game and that’s the most important thing. I saw Marco Silva’s press conference and we know what this game meant to them and so I told the boys we have to also show it,” Klopp said.

“We had to show it to the outside world that we wanted it as much as them and I saw that.

“We had to get over the line and we did. It feels great, we are really happy, the boys wanted it and they got it and so we have 10 games to play before the final in four weeks or so. We are looking forward to Wembley.”

Liverpool defeated Chelsea in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals two years ago and Klopp believes the Blues will be motivated to get their revenge.

He added: “It will be a big one but we all know it’s against Chelsea. They will want to put history right after playing us twice two years ago.”

Diaz was quick to react and beat Timothy Castagne in the air before a deflected strike got past Bernd Leno at his near post.

The Liverpool boss talked up the winger’s impact after his standout performance on the night.

Klopp said: “He was very good. He’s a fantastic player and I have absolutely no criticism of him but I wish he set up the second and scored the third.

“The speed and the power he can generate, the technique and the combination of that is outstanding so I’m really happy.”

Fulham dug deep to try and force the game into extra-time but their earlier missed opportunities frustrated Silva come full time.

Silva believes Liverpool’s experience in big games was the difference maker between the two sides.

He said: “Tonight I felt like they were much calmer than us and to them it was just another game. With most of our players it is new to them to play in a semi-final of this competition and it is what it is.

“I think the club is going to grow in these type of moments and the players as well.”

Liverpool booked their place in the Carabao Cup final as they capitalised on their first-leg advantage and held a spirited Fulham to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

Luis Diaz’s opener was cancelled out by Issa Diop but the Red’s dug deep in the second leg to claim a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Liverpool will face Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea at Wembley on February 25, two years after defeating the Blues in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals.

A fired up Fulham came out of the blocks fighting as they looked to overturn a 2-1 deficit.

After Joao Palhinha’s first-time volley from Andreas Pereira’s corner sailed over, the hosts continued to push through the overlapping Antonee Robinson whose dangerous delivery failed to connect with a white shirt.

But a moment of complacency saw Liverpool strike the first blow in the 11th minute.

Jarell Quansah sent a long ball forward which appeared routine for Timothy Castagne to claim but the full-back was caught napping by Diaz.

The winger reacted quickly to beat him in the air before he drove into the box and scored past Bernd Leno at his near post.

Diaz had the ball in the back of the net again after Darwin Nunez exploited large gaps between centre-backs Tosin Adarabioyo and Diop but the goal was ruled offside after the striker naively moved too soon.

The Cottagers sought inspiration through Raul Jimenez and the Mexico international’s long-range shot forced Caoimhin Kelleher into action when he tipped the ball wide for a corner.

The hosts, now galvanised, enjoyed a five-minute flurry but despite Willian’s attempt from distance and Tom Cairney finding promising pockets, Marco Silva’s men failed to get the goal they desperately needed.

Fulham’s momentum continued after the break but so did their poor day in front of goal. Second-choice keeper Kelleher failed to collect a high ball, losing out to Bobby Decordova-Reid before Pereira found the post from a tight angle instead of the open net.

Liverpool appeared to have rode the storm and began to turn the screw themselves. After Nunez’s effort whistled past Leno’s left post in the 63rd minute, powerful midfielder Ryan Gravenberch did well to get the ball out of his feet before producing a driven strike which missed the target, much to the delight of Leno who would have been well-beaten.

Fulham blew the tie wide open when they scored in the 77th minute.

Harry Wilson drove down the left and curved a cross into the area where he found Diop, who had galloped forward from the back and expertly claimed the leveller with a neat finish past the keeper.

The west Londoners pushed for a dramatic ending and to take the tie into extra-time but a stubborn Liverpool held on through four added minutes.

Jamaican forward Bobby De Cordova-Reid has entered discussions with English Premier League side Fulham regarding a potential contract extension, as revealed by the player himself in an interview with The Athletic.

De Cordova-Reid, currently in the last six months of his existing deal, confirmed the ongoing talks between the club and his agent. The 31-year-old expressed optimism about reaching an agreement but acknowledged that such negotiations take time.

"The club and (my) agent have been in talks, and the thing is to get to (an) agreement," De Cordova-Reid stated. "Obviously, I want an agreement to happen, but things take time, so we'll know more in the future."

Despite being in the final stretch of his current contract, talks are reportedly amicable between the Jamaican forward and Fulham. However, specific terms for the extension are yet to be finalized. Even in the absence of an immediate agreement, De Cordova-Reid has emphasized his commitment to Fulham until the summer.

De Cordova-Reid joined Fulham in August 2019 on loan from Cardiff City, and the move was made permanent in January 2020. The club exercised an option to extend his contract until summer 2024. In his time with Fulham, he has made 167 appearances, scoring 26 goals, including four in the current Premier League season.

Acknowledging his desire for regular playing time, De Cordova-Reid emphasized his focus on contributing to the team's success on the field. Known for his versatility and leadership qualities, he holds the position of one of head coach Marco Silva’s ‘group captains’ and maintains a strong rapport with the Portuguese manager.

“We get on really well,” De Cordova-Reid stated regarding his relationship with Silva. “He plays me quite a lot and in different positions, so he has that trust for me. I appreciate that, and I just want to repay him by doing well on the field."

Reflecting on past achievements, including promotion as champions from the Championship in 2021-22 and securing Premier League status, De Cordova-Reid praised Silva for bringing in the right personnel and fostering a cohesive team dynamic.

"He knows what players he needs on the pitch and in and around the dressing room, and it works well for us," De Cordova-Reid added, expressing his commitment to the club's continued success.

Marco Silva has revealed last season’s embarrassing Carabao Cup exit to Crawley has spurred Fulham onto the semi-finals this year.

The Cottagers host Liverpool on Wednesday night trailing 2-1 on aggregate as they aim to reach a first major domestic cup final since 1975.

Silva’s side led at Anfield in the first leg before conceding twice in three minutes to find themselves as outsiders to down Liverpool and reach Wembley.

The journey is a far cry from their 2-0 loss to Crawley in the second round last August, where Silva made 10 changes from their previous Premier League game.

“My ambition is to always play cup competitions and go further,” Silva said on the eve of the tie.

“Last season we were promoted and we played in the quarter-final of the FA Cup and our aim was always to go further – of course it’s important to recognise that the Premier League was the main thing.

“But at the same time, when we played the other competitions we were trying to be strong enough – the first game in the Carabao was really poor last season.

“It was a good moment to speak with the players about what I demand from them and what we demand from any competitions that you play in the future.”

Silva has taken charge of 229 games in England across spells at Hull, Watford, Everton and Fulham.

The 46-year-old also reached the Greek Cup final with Olympiacos in 2016, having won the Taca de Portugal with Sporting the season before.

But he admits the visit of Liverpool and the potential for a first-ever game as a manager at Wembley means Wednesday is one of the biggest nights of his managerial career in England.

“It is one of them, yes,” he replied. “I did play a (League Cup) semi-final with Hull City as well against Manchester United but, if you ask me right now, I would prefer to have another more important one in one month’s time or two months’ time.”

Louis Saha joined Manchester United for £12.83million from Fulham on this day in 2004, signing a five-and-a-half-year deal at Old Trafford.

The France international had spent three and a half years at Craven Cottage after joining from Metz in 2000, scoring 63 goals in 142 appearances.

It was said his performance in Fulham’s 3-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2003 – Saha did not score in the match but was instrumental in Fulham’s attacking play – convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to bring him to United.

He made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut against Southampton, and going on to bag seven goals in 10 starts over the rest of the campaign.

But his first full season in United colours was hampered by a succession of injuries, two of them sustained while on international duty with France, and he was limited to only 11 starts and 11 substitute appearances, scoring two goals.

He also missed the start of the following season with a hamstring problem, an all too familiar pattern over the course of his four-and-a-half-year United campaign.

There were highs – during the 2005-06 season he was the regular partner for Wayne Rooney in the League Cup and scored in the 4-0 final victory over Wigan.

But, having been handed his chance as first choice in the Premier League following Ruud van Nistelrooy’s departure for Real Madrid, injury woes struck again in the second half of the 2006-07 season.

After a succession of injuries disrupted him again the following campaign, Saha would leave United for Everton in the summer of 2008, having scored 42 goals in 120 appearances.

Mauricio Pochettino predicted Chelsea will benefit from having to “suffer” though the final minutes of their 1-0 win over Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

Cole Palmer’s first-half penalty was the difference but Marco Silva’s side never looked beaten and threw everything at their hosts in search of a late leveller.

Chelsea were perhaps fortunate not to lose Malo Gusto to a red card after 38 minutes for catching Willian with his studs, a VAR check confirming the on-field decision of a booking.

Palmer scored his ninth goal since arriving from Manchester City in the summer when he slotted in from the spot on the stroke of half-time, a foul awarded against defender Issa Diop on Raheem Sterling after collecting Palmer’s sublime through-ball.

It was the kind of pass Chelsea have so often laboured to find this season, and that was the case for much of the first half here.

Indeed Fulham would have been more than good value for going in at the break level, and might even have taken the lead had Harry Wilson been more accurate with his far-post finish from Andreas Pereira’s cross, striking his effort too close to goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

Chelsea’s best chance of the first 45 minutes prior to the goal fell to the head of Armando Broja who thumped wide from Enzo Fernandez’s cross. Sterling was a lingering threat down the left but on the whole was dealt with by Fulham right-back Kenny Tete.

“The first half wasn’t the first half that we sought or planned,” said Pochettino. “Something happened before the game, I don’t want to explain, that affected the team a little bit.

“In the second half we started really good, played really good football for 30 minutes, should score another goal and kill the game. But when it’s open and you don’t kill the game, we conceded a few set pieces, a wide free-kick and a corner, and they have good potential.

“We defended well, it was good for us to suffer a little bit at the end. This type of game will help us grow and build our confidence in the way we’re working.

“It was good to see this young team defend the last 15 minutes the way we defended. We were fighting, we were doing everything to try and keep the result.”

Pochettino defended the decision not to dismiss Gusto in the first half.

It would have been the defender’s second red of the season after he was sent off against Aston Villa in September.

“Yellow card because it was a yellow card,” said the manager. “Remember against Aston Villa it was a red card, I didn’t complain about that. Today it was a yellow card.

“I have a very good relationship with (Marco Silva), he’s a great person and coach. If I’m put in his place, I’m going to tell you it was a red card. I understand.

“The view of the referees sometimes are different. What can I say? They thought it was only a yellow card, and good for us.”

Fulham boss Silva struck a more oppositional stance in response to the VAR’s decision.

“It’s a clear mistake from the VAR,” he said. “It’s a clear red card.

“It’s difficult for (referee) Anthony Taylor to see if it’s a red card. We have to be fair with him because the moment is really quick. In the Premier League, in 10 moments like that one, nine have been a red card.”

Chelsea made it three Premier League wins in a row for the first time since October 2022 as Cole Palmer’s penalty guided them to a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

The winning goal came in stoppage time at the end of the first half, the top scorer for Mauricio Pochettino’s side notching his ninth goal of the season after Raheem Sterling was tripped in the box.

However, the move had been started by a moment of Palmer genius, spotting a gap and threading a superb ball through the middle that drew defender Issa Diop into a clumsy foul.

Marco Silva’s visitors never truly looked beaten until the final whistle sounded.

Chelsea, though, defended doggedly in the final moments to breath genuine momentum into their season.

The first half began in a familiar pattern, plenty of possession for the hosts but little or no penetration in the final third. Sterling was busy down the left during the opening 15 minutes, Kenny Tete at right-back barring the way.

The only chance of those opening exchanges fell to Conor Gallagher, the captain lifting his shot a couple of yards over the bar from just outside the box.

Sterling opted for a different tact on 20 minutes, laying it off wide to Enzo Fernandez to cross. His centre was met by Armando Broja at the front post, who failed to get enough of a glance on the ball and thumped his header wide.

The best chance of the half, though, was Fulham’s. Willian fed Andreas Pereira overlapping on the left, who picked out Harry Wilson stealing away into space on the far side. Wilson hit it first time, looking to sneak it inside Djordje Petrovic’s near post, but the goalkeeper spread himself well, rebounding it away with his legs.

Chelsea’s goal in added time at the end of the half was not deserved on the balance of play, but the pass from Palmer to carve out the chance was sublime. Making eyes for a lofted cross, he instead slipped a reverse ball through the middle for Sterling, who in cutting in onto his left was tripped by Diop. Palmer did the rest from the spot.

Chelsea were seeking a fourth win from five in the league, the kind of points return they had not enjoyed since former boss Graham Potter’s early days in charge more than a year ago. They were, in truth, fortunate to lead at the break.

Sterling headed against the post from six yards out at the start of the second half after Fernandez’s cross had picked him out. Malo Gusto played a low ball for Broja at the near post, but he failed to get a touch and it was cleared by Tosin, as a rebooted Chelsea emerged after the break with renewed purpose.

Fulham took time to get going in the second half half but finally found some bite after 70 minutes, Raul Jimenez shooting low first-time at goal and drawing a save from Petrovic dropping to his right. Pochettino responded by sending on Ben Chilwell for his first appearance in nearly fourth months after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Gallagher struck the post with a superb curling effort off the outside of his right boot as Chelsea looked to kill the game off, then Willian just cleared the bar from a free-kick, Fulham refusing to lie down easy.

In the end, the clock ran out on them, as Chelsea’s resurgence under Pochettino rolled on.

What the papers say

Chelsea will have to pay more than £100million if they want to sign 19-year-old Irish striker Evan Ferguson as Brighton resist letting go of the teenager, the Evening Standard says. Ferguson has signed a deal with Brighton until 2029 after a promising start to his career, including scoring six goals for the club this season.

Everton have slapped a £60million fee on 22-year-old midfielder Amadou Onana, and i sport reports that Arsenal, who are interested in the Belgian, will have to sell a player to afford him.

Fulham, Everton and clubs overseas are said to be interested in Brentford’s 26-year-old midfielder Frank Onyeka, the Guardian reports.

The Times says West Ham are interested in Mexican striker Santiago Gimenez, who Feyenoord value at £30million. The 22-year-old has scored 18 goals in 16 Eredivisie games this season.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jack Clarke: Football London reports West Ham and Crystal Palace are interested in Sunderland’s 23-year-old forward who is valued at around £20million.

Victor Osimhen: Senior figures at Real Madrid believe the club should sign the 25-year-old Napoli striker instead of Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, according to Football Transfers.

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