Fulham’s match winner Chris Baird was a relieved man on Saturday afternoon after his side left it late to secure all three points against Aston Villa.
The Whites were the better side throughout but struggled to break down a resilient Villa side, having to wait until the 84th minute for Baird’s winning goal.
“It looked like they were going to frustrate us and it felt that way during the game,” Chris told fulhamfc.com after the match. “It was really frustrating for us as we couldn’t play our stuff but in the end, no matter how you play, if we get the win then we’ll not complain.
“Three points is three points at the end of the day. Some games you play really well and you lose, or vice versa; you play badly and you win. Today, I just don’t think we were quite ourselves – I don’t know what the reasons were, but it’s three points and I’m happy for us.”
A popular man down by the banks of the Thames, his late winner drew deafening chants of “we’ve got Bairdinho” by the Fulham fans, and the Northern Ireland international admitted it was music to his ears.
“It’s nice to hear the chants,” he said. “I was due a goal as obviously the two I scored were at Stoke [in December 2010]. I always make that front post run so I thought I’d try it again and luckily it fell for me, I got a good touch on it and it went in so I’m happy for myself and for the team.”
Mladen Petric and Dimitar Berbatov impressed on their returns to the starting XI, while Mahamadou Diarra and Ashkan Dejagah provided a fresh impetus when they entered the action, and Bairdy is delighted with the strength in depth that we can now boast.
“It bodes well,” he admitted. “We’ve got a very strong squad now as there are players who had injuries coming back and doing well. That can only mean good things for us and good competition for everyone so it’s going to be a really good next couple of games for us.”
Martin Jol was full of praise for his midfielder, who has been a model of consistency for Fulham over the years, and our Manager highlighted Baird’s versatility as a major attribute.
“I explained that we needed a new identity in midfield and that he [Baird] could help me and he did that because he’s a good football player,” Jol explained.
“Last year he played right-back and centre-back but I’m very pleased that he’s so versatile and could do that job for us - he’s very important for us. He’s probably on top of his game and that’s what we needed today.
“He’s doing so well and that means he’s always in consideration in my mind to play him because he’s becoming more and more important for us and that is good because my midfield must be good.”