What the papers say

Former Chelsea striker Timo Werner has emerged as a January target for Manchester United, according to the Metro. But the paper says the 27-year-old German international would prefer to fight for his place at RB Leipzig.

United are looking to add depth in four positions in the transfer window according to The Guardian. Defensive midfielder is one area targeted, while France defender Raphael Varane, 30, is among those who could be making way for any new arrivals.

Fulham are keen on Chelsea striker Armando Broja, 22, in January, reports The Standard. But the Blues want to keep the Albanian at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal and Rangers are competing for the signature of England Under-17 forward Mason Cotcher, reports the Daily Telegraph. The 17-year-old has been training with the first-team squad at Arsenal since leaving Sunderland.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Guido Rodriguez: Manchester United and Barcelona are keen on the Argentina midfielder, 29, but Marca says Real Betis remain hopeful of keeping him.

Donyell Malen: Borussia Dortmund’s Dutch international winger, 24, remains a target for Liverpool, according to Bild.

Gary O’Neil asked “what is the point in VAR?” after his Wolves side conceded a controversial late penalty during a 3-2 defeat at Craven Cottage.

VAR sent referee Michael Salisbury to the screen to award a penalty after Joao Gomes brought Harry Wilson down in the box, Willian scoring his second spot kick of the game to seal all three points for Fulham.

O’Neil highlighted the decisions involving the late penalty, Carlos Vinicius’ alleged headbutt on Max Kilman and why Tim Ream did not receive a second yellow for a foul on Hwan Hee-Chang.

The Wolves boss criticised the decisions during the game and believes VAR has not helped the referee.

O’Neil said: “I don’t think it’s helped the game,

“I think the ref would have done a better job on his own. I don’t think VAR helped him but in fact it hindered him.

“Sending him to the screen for one and not to the other, not advising him there is a headbutt or that Tim Ream should receive a red card. What is the point in VAR?

“They said they got the Harry Wilson one right (last penalty decision). There’s minimal contact and I don’t think there’s enough.”

O’Neil, who spoke to the referee after the match, also felt aggrieved about Fulham’s first penalty awarded for a foul by Nelson Semedo on Tom Cairney.

He told Sky Sports: “Nelson plays the ball, doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I watched it back with the referee, and to be fair to him he says he thinks they’ve got that wrong and he should have been sent to the monitor.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva lauded his side’s mentality to end a run of four games without a win and to go ahead in the game on three separate occasions.

He said: “We knew Wolves would show resilience tonight again and they brought it back twice and we showed team spirit and I really believed we deserved three points.

“It is important to express ourselves on the pitch. We had some very good spells in some times in the game.

“But the mentality, team spirit and it was a game we had to win and we did it.”

Willian scored his second and third of the season from the spot and Silva praised the experienced 35-year-old.

“He is really important for us and we know the quality of Willian,” Silva added.

“My decision last season to change the taker because he is a player who needs more importance and confidence and it was nice to see him take responsibility with two very good moments from him.

“Overall his performance was very good. Two chances he must score and he did it in very good style, I must say.”

Gary O’Neil admitted Wolves’ 3-2 defeat at Fulham may have ‘finally turned him against VAR’ following a number of controversial calls.

Willian scored two penalties – including a stoppage-time winner – at Craven Cottage, while Alex Iwobi’s early strike was cancelled out by Matheus Cunha and Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan also scored from the spot.

The Cottagers won their first penalty after Tom Cairney beat Nelson Semedo to the ball and was brought down in the box, and a VAR check ruled the incident to have happened inside the area, with Willian stuttering in his run-up and sending Jose Sa the wrong way

After reviewing the decision with referee Michael Salisbury after the match, O’Neil told Sky Sports: “Nelson plays the ball, doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I watched it back with the referee, and to be fair to him he says he thinks they’ve got that wrong and he should have been sent to the monitor.

“Doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help all the fans that have travelled all this way to watch the team. Doesn’t help the players who are feeling frustrated again. The Nelson one has pretty much been admitted by the referee that (there was) a mistake.”

Willian’s winner sparked more debate, O’Neil maintaining the second penalty, issued after Joao Gomes was deemed to have brought down Harry Wilson in the box, was “soft”, but Salisbury in that case stood by his decision to ultimately award the penalty – the result of VAR Stuart Attwell encouraging him to check the pitchside monitor.

O’Neil, who has seen his side emerge on the wrong end of decisions before, said: “It’s bad luck that it keeps going against us, but there are bad refereeing decisions in there.

“I’ve had a real grown-up conversation in there with him, I’m trying to remain calm. I’m not angry with anybody. I’m not in there abusing people. It’s literally a conversation around, ‘come on, guys, it’s six, seven points now that have gone against us, I’m managing a big football club here, and the difference that you’re making to my reputation, to the club’s progression up the league, to people’s livelihoods is huge’.

“It can’t be that with all the technology and all the time and the biggest league in the world that we’re getting so many wrong. It can’t be OK.

“I’ve always been for VAR but I think it’s causing a big problem at the moment. Maybe tonight has finally turned me against VAR when I thought it would probably help, but it doesn’t seem to be.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva, meanwhile, was relieved to have secured a first victory in five matches.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s a really important win for us. We wanted a reaction from the last, back-to-back defeats. Of course it is always tough for us. It is something that we are not used to.

“I really wanted to see that quality, that intensity, the pace, the will to go. The team showed very good spirit. Overall it was a balanced game but we were always trying to do more to win than Wolves, I believe.”

Willian completed his brace with a dramatic stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot as Fulham held off Wolves to claim all three points in a thrilling 3-2 victory at Craven Cottage.

The experienced 35-year-old scored two penalties, while Alex Iwobi’s early strike was cancelled out by Matheus Cunha and Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan also netted from the spot.

The winger’s double took his tally to three for the season as the Cottagers claimed their first victory in four games.

A golden chance was presented to the hosts after 40 seconds. The creative Andreas Pereira whipped a dangerous ball into the box and Fulham striker Raul Jimenez swung his boot but failed to convert his second in as many games.

But Pereira’s efforts were rewarded in the seventh minute when he set up the opening goal of the game.

The Brazilian was everywhere. He drifted onto the left before he beat his marker and delivered another perfect drilled low pass, this time to the alert Iwobi who gave Fulham a deserved 1-0 lead.

The Cottagers looked to strike again through Jimenez, who failed to tap home before Wolves keeper Jose Sa denied Tom Cairney’s powerful effort moments later.

Wolves grew into the game and were unfortunate not to score a goal of their own.

Mario Lemina started positively against his old side and drove forward before unleashing Korean striker Hwang, who was denied by the crossbar.

And Wolves got the goal they needed in the 22nd minute through Cunha after a magical moment of individual play in the build-up.

It started through tricky Frenchman Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, who toyed with Antonee Robinson on the left flank, before he jinked outside and delivered a delightful cross to the head of Cunha in front of the empty net.

The minutes before the goal suggested it was coming and Marco Silva’s side yet again paid the price for not taking their chances.

Individual mistakes were a big theme of the first half and goalkeeper Bernd Leno was called into action after a defensive error in the 36th minute where Timothy Castagne dealt with a cross which would have seen Cunha claim his second at the back post.

Cunha started Wolves’ first big chance in the second half when he slipped strike partner Hwang wide but his cross to Matt Doherty was kept out of danger by Castagne, who replicated his earlier heroics.

But typical of the end-to-end game, Fulham won a penalty after Cairney beat Nelson Semedo to the ball and was brought down in the box.

A VAR check ruled the incident to have happened inside the area and Willian stuttered in his run-up and sent Sa the wrong way, stroking his effort into the bottom right corner to restore Fulham’s lead.

A deft flick on from Jimenez set Iwobi through but the Nigeria international was denied his brace by Sa who tipped his effort over before the Wolves keeper stopped another effort not long after to keep his side in the contest with 20 to go.

And Wolves converted a penalty of their own in the 75th minute through Hwang.

Fulham skipper Tim Ream bundled Hwang to the ground and the striker stepped up and blasted his effort down the middle to make it 2-2 in front of Wolves’ travelling supporters.

In dramatic fashion Fulham won another penalty in added time after Joao Gomes was deemed to have brought down Harry Wilson in the box.

The clinical Willian calmly stepped up and buried his effort past Sa to give the hosts an important 3-2 win.

What the papers say

The Evening Standard reports Fulham are ahead of Liverpool and Manchester United in the battle to sign Fluminense’s 22-year-old Brazil midfielder Andre.

The same newspaper says Fulham have also showed interest in 24-year-old Denmark striker Jonas Wind, who has scored eight goals in 11 matches so far for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.

The Daily Star reports there could be a cleanout at Manchester United next year with the possibility of 15 players leaving the Premier League club. The first player out the door is rumoured to be 23-year-old Jadon Sancho.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: Newcastle are reportedly monitoring the 26-year-old Everton striker, TeamTalk reports. The England forward has scored three goals in nine games for the Toffees in the Premier League this season.

Santiago Gimenez: Football Transfers reports Chelsea are interested in the 22-year-old Feyenoord striker, who has scored 13 goals in 12 games so far for the Dutch club this season.

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has heaped praise on skipper John McGinn, describing the midfielder as a “very good example” for other players.

Sunday’s 3-1 home win over Fulham saw McGinn put Villa 2-0 up just before the interval with a fine strike from 20 yards, then help create the hosts’ third, scored by Ollie Watkins in the 64th minute.

The Scotland international has netted three times and provided two assists for fifth-placed Villa in the Premier League so far this term and has also scored twice in the Europa Conference League.

Emery said of McGinn, who has been with the club since 2018: “He is himself very demanding.

“He is competitive, he always is ready to play, physically as well. I think when he is not training or playing he is resting – his energy always is full.

“He is a very good example, of how he is consistent and trying to help and to be an example, a very good example for players.

“I really, really appreciate a lot as a person how he is, but as a professional, he is fantastic.

“His connection here, his commitment here for a long time, with the supporters, with Aston Villa, with the project that is here, and he came here when they were in the Championship…I think he’s one of the players I really appreciate and really need to be an example for others.”

The result at Villa Park meant Emery’s side – a point outside the top four and only three off the top – made it six wins out of six at home in the league this season and equal the post-war club record for successive top-flight home victories, matching the 13 in a row achieved in 1983.

Prior to McGinn and Watkins’ efforts, the hosts had taken the lead in the 27th minute via an Antonee Robinson own goal.

Fulham reduced the deficit with 20 minutes of normal time to go when Raul Jimenez, who had seen a shot tipped against a post by Emiliano Martinez early in the second half, opened his account for the club.

It was a first league goal for the Mexico international, signed from Wolves in the summer, since March 2022.

Fulham boss Marco Silva, whose side are 16th in the table after a third defeat in four league games, said the goal would be a weight off Jimenez’s shoulders.

He said: “For sure it’s going to be not so heavy for the next time that he’s going to be on the pitch.

“It’s a tough one, it’s a long time without scoring in the Premier League. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t give the chance for us to add points with his goal.

“But I’m sure if he keeps working like he’s doing, and trying to do his best, and we keep delivering for him as well, in the future he’s going to score (goals) that can count towards points for us.”

Jimenez, whose former club are Fulham’s first opponents after the international break, told the Cottagers’ official website: “Of course it’s always nice to score my first goal in the Premier League in a long time, and first goal for Fulham.

“I’m really happy for that, but obviously the result is not what we wanted and I want to keep doing this, keep scoring, and help the team to get better.

“This needs to be the goal that opens the bottle. I need to keep going and it’s going to be a special game for me, that next game (against Wolves), and I want to do my best.”

Unai Emery stressed the importance of Aston Villa remaining consistent as the season goes on after the 3-1 win over Fulham.

The result at Villa Park saw the midlands outfit make it six wins out of six at home in the Premier League this season and equal the post-war club record for successive top-flight home victories, matching the 13 in a row achieved in 1983.

Boss Emery, whose fifth-placed side are a point outside the top four, said: “We are now (on league match) 12 – there are still 26 matches to play.

“It’s a lot and of course to be consistent is the most important thing, when you are trying to build and to create a team and a structure and mentality.

“It’s the reason of course we can maintain the position like we are now, but it’s going to be very difficult and a challenge. We are going to face each match trying to focus (on) it.

“Now we are in the top five, it’s I think a moment to enjoy, to be happy – and to try to analyse, even now winning, how we can improve, how we can keep being consistent.”

Marking a return to winning ways in the league after last Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Nottingham Forest, this result was a second home triumph in four days for Villa, with Emery’s men having defeated AZ Alkmaar 2-1 in the Europa Conference League on Thursday to leave them on the brink of qualifying from their group.

They were two up at the break against Fulham following an Antonee Robinson own-goal and a 42nd-minute strike from skipper John McGinn, while Ollie Watkins subsequently added a third in the 64th minute for his 11th goal of the season in all competitions.

Raul Jimenez, who had seen a shot tipped against a post by Emiliano Martinez early in the second half, pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 70th minute – the former Wolves man’s first Premier League goal since March 2022.

Emery said: “At home, we are feeling very good here. We are connected with our supporters, trying to (have) full, positive energy, and… in each circumstance we are trying to adapt, improving the team, the players, our tactical work. I think it is going well.

“Here, for example, I think the first half was a very good first half. We created chances, but overall we controlled the game, avoiding the transition. It was fantastic.

“The second half was more hard. They scored one goal, had chances and were trying to work, thinking about the possibility to come back, and we avoided it.”

Villa resume after the international break with away games against Tottenham and Bournemouth, either side of a Europa Conference League home match against Legia Warsaw, and then host Manchester City and Arsenal in the league.

Emery added: “Of course I am happy and I can take my days off as well relaxing with the result we had, with the moment we are now in the table, and in the Conference (League) as well.

“But I know full well each match is a new challenge, and I am going to take some days resting, but of course my mind is in Tottenham, and in Bournemouth, and in Legia Warsaw, and in Villa Park again with Manchester City and Arsenal.”

Aston Villa registered their 13th Premier League home win on the bounce as Unai Emery’s men beat Fulham 3-1.

Villa were two goals up at the break following an Antonee Robinson own-goal and a strike from skipper John McGinn.

Fulham came close early in the second half when Emiliano Martinez tipped a Raul Jimenez shot against a post before Ollie Watkins added a third for the hosts with a 64th-minute finish.

Jimenez pulled a goal back for the visitors, but Villa were not to be denied as they equalled the post-war club record for successive top-flight home victories, matching the 13 in a row achieved in 1983.

Emery’s side have scored at least three times in each of their Villa Park wins this season, with the total being 23 goals for the midlands outfit across the six games.

It was also a return to winning ways in the league after last Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Nottingham Forest, since when they had defeated AZ Alkmaar 2-1 at home in the Europa Conference League.

While fifth-placed Villa are a point outside the top four, Marco Silva’s Fulham are 16th after their winless run in the league extended to a fourth game.

The home side made a lively start to the contest and after Moussa Diaby had a sixth-minute effort saved by Bernd Leno, another Villa attack moments later saw Watkins’ shot come off Timothy Castagne and referee Simon Hooper award a penalty.

However, VAR intervened and with Hooper having surveyed footage pitchside, the handball decision was overturned.

Martinez was then called into action to keep out an Andreas Pereira strike, although the flag was up for offside, before Emery’s men pushed forward again and took the lead in the 27th minute.

Youri Tielemans, making his first league start for Villa, curled a delivery from the left towards Diaby and the ball went off Robinson into the net – the defender’s second own-goal of the season, having also scored one in Fulham’s win against Sheffield United last month.

As Villa sought a second, Matty Cash was denied by Leno, and the advantage was doubled in the 42nd minute as McGinn collected the ball from a Robinson header, took a touch to move away from Joao Palhinha and fired in from just outside the box.

Fulham started well after the interval and almost reduced the deficit three minutes in when a Martinez touch diverted Jimenez’s strike against a post, with Willian shooting over on the follow-up.

There was also a shot just wide of the near post from Willian, but soon after Villa made it 3-0 as Leon Bailey, just off the bench, crossed and Watkins sidefooted in his 11th club goal of the season in all competitions.

Jimenez produced a similar finish, teed up by Robinson in the 70th minute, to open his Fulham account – his first Premier League goal since March 2022.

Substitute Carlos Vinicius thought he had scored another for Fulham in the 81st minute when he went around Martinez and slotted in, but he was flagged offside, before the ball hit the Fulham bar off Palhinha and Watkins headed the loose ball wide when looking certain to score – a surprising miss that mattered little come the final whistle.

Bruno Fernandes fired home an injury-time winner to secure a much-needed victory for Manchester United at Fulham.

United came into the Craven Cottage clash under a cloud after the midweek Carabao Cup defeat at home to Newcastle.

They were quiet for long periods of the game but a moment of brilliance from skipper Fernandes, who came in for criticism from former United players after the Newcastle loss, gave manager Erik ten Hag a welcome three points.

Fernandes evaded attempts to close him down on the edge of the penalty area before placing his shot beyond Fulham keeper Bernd Leno.

United thought they had taken a 1-0 lead after eight minutes but VAR ruled out Scott McTominay’s effort for offside.

The Scot tapped in Alejandro Garnacho’s cut back but referee John Brooks overturned the goal after VAR ruled Harry Maguire had interfered with play from an offside position.

The decision was a wake-up call for the hosts who were looking to build on Wednesday’s last-16 3-1 Carabao Cup victory at Ipswich.

Craven Cottage was fired up and Willian dragged the Cottagers up the pitch with a slaloming run but his effort was blocked at the last moment.

The Brazilian was Fulham’s main creative outlet in the final third and in the 27th minute he produced a delightful cross, but, in keeping with Fulham’s season so far, no striker was there to finish at the back post.

Nigeria international Alex Iwobi marauded from his own half into United’s box but was wasteful in front of goal, failing to hit the target.

The hangover from United’s back-to-back 3-0 home defeats against Manchester City and Newcastle was clear to see as ten Hag’s side lacked intensity, with Fernandes’ skewed added time cross summing up their first-half efforts.

The visitors searched for a way into the game after halftime through Garnacho who enjoyed touches in promising areas before a dangerous cross was tipped over by Leno.

Momentum shifted in Fulham’s favour on the hour. Iwobi picked out Harry Wilson who tried from range with a powerful outside of the boot effort but he was denied by United keeper Andre Onana.

The Cottagers also came close from the following set-piece when last week’s goal scorer Joao Palhinha failed to keep his effort down as Onana made another save to maintain the deadlock.

The minutes ebbed away and substitutions from both sides sapped the games’ intensity before Fernandes’ free-kick in the 83rd minute gave United hope late on.

The Portuguese midfielder had not been heavily involved but showed what he is capable of when he struck a dipped free-kick towards Leno’s bottom corner and the Fulham keeper did well to prevent United edging in front.

But there was no denying Fernandes in added time. He combined with Rasmus Hojlund and jinked inside onto his preferred right foot before unleashing a powerful shot that proved too much for Leno, who could only palm it into his bottom corner.

Marcus Rashford was not included in Manchester United’s squad for the game at Fulham.

The England striker was forced to apologise to United boss Erik ten Hag after attending a nightclub party following last weekend’s embarrassing derby defeat to Manchester City.

But Rashford was missing at Craven Cottage due to injury after taking a “heavy knock” in training.

Reports emerged the day after the City match that the England international, who turned 26 on Tuesday, had gone to the Chinawhite nightclub for a pre-arranged birthday party hours after the Old Trafford loss.

“Yes, I am aware of it,” manager Ten Hag said of Rashford’s post-derby night out.

“I spoke with him about it. It’s unacceptable, I told him, he apologised and that’s it. For the rest it’s an internal matter.

“He’s very motivated to put things right. So, he makes a mistake, but that doesn’t say he’s not fitting in. I see him every day in training, what he’s doing, I know.”

Following the team announcement at Craven Cottage, Ten Hag told MUTV: “(Rashford) is OK, but not OK to start. He is not fit enough to start but it is about players who are available.

“(Alejandro) Garnacho can do the job very well, we have seen that often so I am confident.”

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro has been ruled out for a “several weeks” with a hamstring injury.

After missing three matches, the 31-year-old captained Erik ten Hag’s side on his return against Newcastle in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Casemiro was replaced at half-time of the 3-0 defeat and United have now confirmed he will miss a key run of fixtures.

The club said in a statement: “Casemiro will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury suffered during our Carabao Cup defeat to Newcastle United on Wednesday.

“The Brazilian midfielder was withdrawn at half-time due to the issue, and subsequent assessment has revealed a strain that will keep him out for a number of weeks.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva challenged Rodrigo Muniz to make the forward position his own after he scored in a 3-1 win at Ipswich to send them through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2004.

The Premier League opposition proved too strong for the Championship high-flyers with Harry Wilson, Muniz and Tom Cairney on target at Portman Road before substitute Elkan Baggott pulled one back late on.

It was the performance of Brazil striker Muniz which caught the eye after his movement helped create Wilson’s ninth-minute opener from Bobby Decordova-Reid’s pass before the 22-year-old fired home in the 50th minute from Andreas Pereira’s cross.

Muniz endured a difficult 2022-23 campaign on loan at Middlesbrough but after scoring his first Fulham goal since January of last year, Silva talked up his chances of starting Saturday’s clash with Manchester United.

“He is always a candidate and he had a very good pre-season,” Silva said.

“Unfortunately in the moment he was showing his quality, showing how he was growing, even if last season was tough for him, he had a muscle injury and it stop a little bit his development in the pre-season.

“He came back and had a very good game against Tottenham in the first Carabao Cup match we have and he is taking his chances. So, he is always a candidate like the others, like Raul (Jimenez) and Carlos Vinicius.

“They are fighting for the position, we don’t have a number one, two or three. It is for me to decide for each game regarding the strategy and what I want from the game. It is up to them to show the quality they have and to show they are able to play.

“Rodrigo did really well. Let’s see what is going to be my decision for the next match.”

Fulham’s passage into the last-eight was clinched when Cairney’s low effort went through Christian Walton in the 77th-minute.

While Silva was frustrated with Baggott’s headed consolation, he praised the application of his side.

He added: “Yes very good performance. Credit to the players, congratulations to them.

“It is true we did eight changes in our XI and even we probably needed more because we are going to play an early kick-off on Saturday, but in some positions it was impossible to do it.

“If I had the chance, I would do even more (changes), but the main thing for me is we kept our structure, we kept the same way. All the players know the way we want to play and we were really serious in the way we approach the game.”

Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna was able to take plenty of positives from only their second defeat of the campaign.

“It was a tough game, no doubt about that, but I think a game and a night we will be much stronger for,” he said.

“It was always going to be a massive challenge irrespective of how the game went or which team we picked.

“To concede an early goal against a really good Fulham team it was always going to be a really tough game, but I’m pleased with how we stuck at it.

“I am pleased we kept trying until the last minute, we tried to stick to our football and there is big positives to take.”

Fulham eased through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2004 with a 3-1 win at Ipswich.

Marco Silva’s team were up against a Town outfit that had only lost once since their promotion to the Sky Bet Championship in April, but the Premier League side showed their class in Suffolk.

Harry Wilson provided the breakthrough for Fulham in the ninth minute with a cool finish and Muniz grabbed his first goal for the club in 19 months early into the second period to put the London outfit in control.

Tom Cairney confirmed Fulham’s win with a third in the 77th minute and, while Elkan Baggott reduced the deficit late on, Kieran McKenna’s Championship promotion hopefuls suffered a rare defeat in front of a packed Portman Road crowd.

The last meeting between these teams was three years ago in same competition and Aleksandar Mitrovic decided the tie that night, but goals had been hard to come by for the visitors since his summer exit to Saudi Arabia.

It was a different story for Ipswich, who put another three past Plymouth last weekend, but the high-flying hosts were 1-0 down after only nine minutes.

McKenna would have been disappointed after Ipswich’s back four was pulled over to the right and Bobby Decordova-Reid spotted the unmarked Wilson, who impressively side-stepped the onrushing Christian Walton before the Welsh winger slotted into the empty net.

Goalkeeper Walton was one of 11 changes made by the home side and he almost conceded again six minutes later, but breathed a sigh of relief when Fode Ballo-Toure’s deflected cross bounced off the crossbar and to safety.

Fulham also shuffled their pack with only three players retained from the draw at Brighton and Marek Rodak atoned for his poor pass when he tipped Kayden Jackson’s low effort wide soon after the opener.

The quality of the Premier League side was clear though as Andreas Pereira arrowed a 22-yard shot wide before the visitors hit the woodwork again, with Ipswich’s second-string struggling for fluency.

Calvin Bassey started the move with a fine run out from the back and nearly provided the perfect finish, but Walton unconvincingly parried his poked effort onto the post after Axel Tuanzebe, on his first start for Ipswich, cleared Ballo-Toure’s cross straight to the Fulham centre-back in the 44th minute.

Town failed to heed that warning sign and, after no substitutions were made at the break, Silva’s men doubled their lead five minutes into the second period.

A slick counter-attack did the trick with Wilson able to find Timothy Castagne and his cross took a slight touch off Ipswich defender Cameron Burgess to fall into the path of Muniz, who fired home from six yards to open his account for the season.

Wilson took a whack to the face straight from the restart, but picked himself up to waltz into the Town penalty area before Burgess’ slide tackled denied him and Janoi Donacien blocked Bobby Decordova-Reid’s follow-up shot.

McKenna made changes to try and set up a grandstand finish, but Cairney made the result safe when his low effort went through Walton after another assist by the excellent Decordova-Reid.

It looked like Ipswich would fire a blank for the first time this season, but substitute Baggott headed home a Jack Taylor corner with 11 minutes left to give the 28,221 crowd a consolation goal.

Roberto De Zerbi was frustrated with Brighton’s 1-1 draw against Fulham but insisted there were positives to their performance at Amex Stadium.

Joao Palhinha’s stunning 65th-minute equaliser cancelled out Evan Ferguson’s opener as Fulham fought to earn a point on the road.

And De Zerbi believes the Seagulls lacked a cutting edge on a day where they rued missed first-half opportunities.

“I am really frustrated and disappointed with the result,” De Zerbi said.

“I think we played a great game, especially three days after the Ajax game at home (a 2-0 win in the Europa League). It was a fantastic first half but we could have scored more.

“In the second half we played well. We conceded a goal only in one moment and when we lost distances we lost balance and then there was only one team on the pitch (Fulham).

“Last season we lost three points against Fulham and this season we dropped another two points and we are frustrated with the result.”

Ireland international Ferguson scored Brighton’s opener with a quality finish past goalkeeper Bernd Leno and into the bottom corner.

But boss De Zerbi insisted his striker is not playing at his full capacity despite scoring five times in 10 appearances in the Premier League.

He added: “Ferguson is not in his best moment but he’s a different player for us and a different type of striker we have in the squad and I think he could play better but he’s not in the best moment, he played a good game.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva believes Fulham were not at their best and showed Brighton “too much respect”.

He said: “In the first half we did not reach the standards we should if we want to compete at this level. We were not sharp enough to play the way we would like to play.

“We were not aggressive and showed them too much respect. They won most of the challenges and we were not at the level with the pressure.

“They won most of the second balls, we cannot be erratic if we want to play under pressure and make the right decisions. The goal we conceded is a good example and we have to make better decisions and be less erratic.

“I have to give credit to the players in the second half in the way they believed and they expressed themselves on the pitch.”

Joao Palhinha scored a stunning equaliser as Fulham held Brighton to a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls were the better team in the early stages and were rewarded through Evan Ferguson’s neat finish before Palhinha’s superb strike secured a point for the Londoners.

The result extended Brighton’s winless run to three as they rued missed chances in front of goal.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side showed little signs of fatigue following Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League win over Ajax and nearly took an early lead.

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno kept out Carlos Baleba’s shot from range in the seventh minute and saved Simon Adingra’s effort inside the six-yard box moments later to keep it 0-0.

Baleba was pulling the strings for Brighton as his vision and inch-perfect passes picked out the pacey Adingra, who enjoyed runs into space.

The hosts got the goal they deserved after 26 minutes.

Igor Julio drove the Seagulls up the pitch and when Ferguson retrieved the ball outside the box he showed excellent composure to slide the ball past Leno with his left foot into the bottom corner.

The goal highlighted a gulf in quality between the two sides and the lethargic Cottagers were fortunate not to concede again immediately after the kick-off when their defence was caught napping by Adingra.

A rain-soaked Marco Silva cut a frustrated figure and his pleas to his Fulham players were left unanswered as Willian’s wasteful free-kick put an end to the first spell of meaningful possession the visitors had enjoyed in the Brighton half since the opening minutes.

Left-back Antonee Robinson was struggling to cope with Adingra and the American then gifted Ferguson a back pass, but the Seagulls’ goalscorer failed to double his tally when he was denied by Leno after 40 minutes.

Brighton started the second half quickly and Lewis Dunk was unfortunate not to score in the 49th minute. The skipper lined up a set-piece and his side-footed effort dipped onto Leno’s crossbar.

Fulham made Brighton pay for their missed chances as they made it 1-1 in the 65th minute through Palhinha.

The visitors threw men forward in numbers and the Portugal international got the ball out of his feet on the edge of the box and blasted an effort past Jason Steele.

The goal swung the momentum in the Londoners’ favour and substitute Rodrigo Muniz nearly punished Brighton from the restart through an audacious back heel that was kept out by Steele.

Both teams had opportunities to win it with Robinson clearing an effort off the line before Harry Wilson came close to grabbing a winner at the other end.

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