There wasn't a period during the match yesterday that I thought we were under threat, but there were times when we let Middlesbrough play with the ball a little too much and there were periods when they were chasing the ball down much quicker than us.

They played a little like Fulham did against Derby in that sense and I don't think this is too stupid to mention, but I think we didn't let them in because of the quality we had on the pitch.

And that stands up when you look at the number of goals we conceded this season. Only two teams were better than us and they were promoted automatically. But I don't think we can rely on that against Fulham in the final. And when you look at the table for this season, that stands up too. Only one team scored more goals than Fulham.

But in 90 minutes, anything is possible. I've written that so many times on this blog since 2005 that it hurts writing it again. But the one thing I've never done is look at why. And that is the scary part.

Last night was edge of seat stuff, even if we looked in control. Why? Because we all know at any time, things can change. But it only ever changes for the team that wants it. I'm not sure we wanted to win yesterday. I know we didn't want to lose.

So in 90 minutes, if you don't want to win, if you don't go looking for it with real purpose and determination, it's actually not that likely that 'anything can happen'. I wrote before the game that we shouldn't treat the match as the second half but we did. That really does concern me for the final. Fulham are much better than Middlesbrough and for sure, they are going to want it.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if we play in the final like we did last night and Fulham play like they did against Derby the other night, we will lose.

And that raises the question; why didn't we want to go and win last night?

I'm very happy we're in the final and I want us to win. I think we can, but I also believe that to do so, we've got to go out there and play differently to the way we have in the past couple of games. We can't score first and hope to hold on to that lead against a team like Fulham.

But now that I've written that, we'll score in the first half and sit back for the second and get promoted. It would just be nice if we went out and scored three in the first half and three more in the second. Announce our homecoming with a bang.

Author: Damian
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Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.