Ollie Watkins addresses Aston Villa criticism after victory vs Fulham

Ollie Watkins was at the double for Villa who climbed back into the Premier League top-four with victory at Craven Cottage.

Ollie Watkins was aware of scrutiny on him after missed opportunities but admits it was nice to find the net early on in Saturday's 2-1 win at Fulham.

Watkins was at the double for Villa, netting either side of half-time to hand Unai Emery's side a crucial three points. The forward finished brilliantly twice and looked to have set his side up for a comfortable win, but Fulham came back into it and forced a nervy finish.

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Rodrigo Muniz pulled one back for the Cottagers and Adama Traore could have levelled the score in added-time, were it not for a brilliant Emi Martinez save. The final whistle brought relief among the away end and Watkins, who admits it could have been a more commanding scoreline, was happy to see his side bounce back quickly from last week's defeat against Manchester United.

"I thought we were going to score three or four. That wasn't the case,” Watkins told Match of the Day. “Fulham responded really well and put us under pressure. It could have been a 2-2 game at the end there. It's a massive three points, especially after a home defeat to Manchester United.

"It was nice to get on the score sheet early doors. You always have your wits about you and I just aimed hard and low and saw what happens. It's nice to get back on the scoresheet after a defeat to Manchester United with a few missed opportunities. Personally I'm not dwelling on that and as a team we're not. Massive reaction to come here and win today.

"We've had such an unbelievable home run, 17 games unbeaten. So when you do lose it comes as a shock and people are going to talk about that. We've had a lot of injuries. Three ACL injuries in one season is unheard of. So I think we're doing really well with the squad we've got."

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Villa did have the ball in the net inside two minutes, with Watkins slotting finishing an incisive move off but seeing the flag raised for offside. It was then Fulham's turn to think they'd scored but defender Tim Ream was also flagged offside after fumbling home from a deep free-kick.

Watkins did get his goal shortly after, shifting the ball out of his feet and finding Bernd Leno's far corner after Fulham gave away possession in a dangerous area. Alex Moreno was the third player to see his effort chalked off for offside, having got in behind from a Watkins flick on but been beyond the last line of defence - another that took several minutes to confirm.

Villa and Watkins got their second of the game 10 minutes into the second half, the forward timing his run perfectly to latch onto Youri Tielemans' pass before slotting the ball underneath the onrushing Leno.

Fulham looked dead and buried but pulled one back out of the blue with 27 minutes to go. Muniz nipped in front of Martinez to prod into the net after Clement Lenglet had left a cross for his goalkeeper.

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Fulham pushed for an equaliser in the final half hour but were unable to make the breakthrough. The biggest chance fell to Traore in added-time but after running through on goal, the winger saw his effort brilliantly saved by Martinez.

Villa held firm in the final few minutes to enjoy an instant reaction to last week's defeat at home to United. Emery's side climbed back into fourth-place, with Tottenham losing against Wolves.

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