Marco Silva believes Fulham will receive a stern examination of their Championship promotion credentials when Derby County travel to Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.
The Rams head to London boosted by a brilliant win over Bournemouth on Sunday, especially having been handed a second significant points deduction for financial irregularities early in the week. The Fulham head coach told his pre-match press conference this afternoon that he won’t be taking Wayne Rooney’s side lightly.
“My words straight after Saturday’s match when I was asked about Derby, I started to congratulate them because the players and the staff have shown great character and a strong personality to deal with the situation. They are always a really tough team to beat, you can see in the number of defeats they’ve had until now. Even if they are in that position, they have already collected 21 points.
They have strong character and strong personality, and quality as well. And the staff as well, with the manager, it’s possible. For sure they will come here to match us, they come here to fight. Even if they look at the table and their position is not fair to them, they know their quality, they know why they are in that position, and they know the only way to get out of that position is by getting good results. It’s up to us to play at our best, to repeat the performance of last Saturday, or if we can improve because there’s always things to improve. That would be very good for us and make things very difficult for Derby, but it will be a tough game for us, I have no doubt about it.”
Silva admitted he faces difficult decisions about the exact composition of his starting line-up tomorrow night, with both Denis Odoi and Tosin Adarabioyo available again after suspension.
“It will not be an easy decision. Not just Hector, but Denis as well is coming back. It’s two not easy decisions. There’s always a strategy behind my decision, analysing what we want to do, and after I will take the decision that I believe is best for the club and for the starting eleven tomorrow. Whenever I make a decision it is thinking what is the best thing to do in the right moment?
“About Hector, I just have good words for him. We spoke about the things he should improve to be involved, because he was not involved in the squad list for a long period as the other three were in a better position than him. He had a long period out of the squad, but he worked hard and showed his quality to me. And the last three weeks I decided he should start, and he has been improving. I am seeing improvements from him. In the last game, his first ten minutes were not the best, he was a little bit anxious in some moments, but he grew during the game and had a good performance.”