Fulham manager Marco Silva claimed that Bernd Leno “didn’t push” a ball boy during the side’s 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
Goals from Justin Kluivert, Dominic Solanke and Luis SInisterra sealed a fourth win on the bounce for the Cherries, who moved into the top half of the Premier League table.
Leno vented his frustration during the game when he seemingly lightly shoved a ball boy after taking the ball. The German goalkeeper was later seen hugging the boy and apologised.
Silva reacted to the incident after the final whistle and complained that the ball boys at Dean Court were systematically slowing the game down.
“I spoke with Bernd before I came off, I saw the moment,” the Portuguese tactician told BBC Match of the Day. “I don’t know if it was instruction or not, but the ball boys were always delaying.
“The game should be the same if one team is winning or not. The ball boys were always delaying, Bernd wanted to play quickly and he took the ball from the ball boy. He didn’t push him, it wasn’t strong enough and he apologised. He is a top professional.”
Fulham, who have now lost three league matches on the trot since winning back-to-back games 5-0 earlier this month, are suffering from the loss of key players Raul Jimenez and Willian, according to Silva – but he has urged the rest of his players to step up in their absence.
“Not just Raul, we are missing Willian as well,” he said. It cannot be an excuse for me because the other players have to step in and show their quality. Our attacking and midfield line, we didn’t show the quality at this level. On the ball we have to play and attack, that was not the level we normally play.
“It’s not going to be two games that changes everything. Before that everyone said we were flying, we were getting very good performances, very good results. Two bad results, this afternoon not the level of performance it should be. Of course, we have to understand why things are happening in this way and prepare for next game.”