Fulham-Aston Villa Preview
Marco Silva hailed the work of opposite number Unai Emery as he previewed Fulham's Premier League trip to Aston Villa, who remain in contention for a European spot.
Fulham made it back-to-back wins with Saturday's 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Leeds United, though they remain six points adrift of sixth-placed Villa.
Emery's side have won seven of their last nine games (D2) to force their way into contention for a top-six finish, leaving Silva impressed by his rapid impact since taking charge at Villa Park.
"Unai is doing a very good job. He is a great manager, he has not surprised anyone. They are a really well managed team, and with quality," Silva said.
"Everyone knew when the season started, what they wanted to fight for. You could feel during the summer with the type of players they signed as well, what they really wanted to fight for.
"I think the results help them to be much more confident, some players are in a very good moment of form, clearly.
"The striker (Ollie) Watkins is a very good example, but not just him. I think it would be unfair to mention one player because collectively, they are in a very good moment."
While Villa saw a five-match winning run halted by a 1-1 draw at Brentford last time out, the mood in the camp remains positive after Douglas Luiz's late goal salvaged a point for Emery's side.
Asked about the belief in Villa's squad, Luiz said: "It's so high. We believe in the team, all the staff, we're in a good moment and we're very happy.
"I knew how it was so important for us to score in the game, to improve. I'm so happy to score and help the team.
"We have the one point here and now we focus on Tuesday. We need to train, we need to recover and focus on this game."
Aston Villa - Douglas Luiz
Only Watkins (20) has been involved in more Premier League goals for Villa than Luiz this season, with the Brazilian scoring four goals and laying on five for his team-mates this term.
Luiz hit a late leveller against Brentford last time out and will be looking to continue his goalscoring form from that encounter.
Fulham - Andreas Pereira
Only suspended striker Aleksandar Mitrovic (12) has bettered Pereira's tally of 10 goal involvements in the Premier League for Fulham this season.
Pereira is also joint-second in the visitors' scoring charts after hitting the net for the fourth time this season against Leeds, while he has created a team-high 60 chances in the top flight this campaign.
Aston Villa have lost just one of their last 18 home league games against Fulham (W10 D7), winning the last three in a row, since a 2-1 loss back in April 2014.
However, the hosts have not won any of their nine midweek top-flight games (played on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) since a 1-0 win over Arsenal in July 2020 (D5 L4). Fulham have won all four of their midweek league matches this term.
In-form Villa have won their last four Premier League home games by an aggregate score of 9-0 - another victory on Tuesday would see them post five successive top-flight wins at Villa Park for the first time since 1998.
Aston Villa 43.1 per cent
Fulham 27.7 per cent
Draw 29.3 per cent
Updated April 24, 2023