Marco Silva was delighted that Fulham came through a ‘tough’ London derby against Millwall with three goals, three points and a precious clean sheet.
On an emotional night when Craven Cottage remembered supporter Paul Parish, who passed away after the last home game against Blackpool, Fulham delivered a vital victory that puts them eight points clear at the top of the Championship. Silva was pleased with the way that his side gradually broke down a stubborn Millwall side, telling FFCTV:
“It is always a tough match to play against Millwall. We know how they play. We have to prepare for a lot of long balls, second balls. We have to deal with that situation every single time. Certain moments we did it, certain moments we showed our quality with the ball as well. We weren’t as consistent as we would like to be, but we were the best team on the pitch. It was a really important win for us and it was a good feeling for Paul’s family.”
The Fulham head coach was particularly pleased to keep a first clean sheet in six matches and heaped praise on goalkeeper Marek Rodak, who made a series of crucial saves when the visitors came on strong in the second half.
“It is fantastic. Marek made a big impact on that – kept us with a clean sheet. It was really important. They had two big chances that we should do much better with. One ball we shouldn’t lose in that position and then when they flicked the ball [on] and Marek made a big save. It is the type of situation where we should improve clearly, to be more consistent as a team and to be more mature. If they score at 2-1, it is a different game completely. It is good that we kept a clean sheet.”
Silva believes Fulham’s patterns of play in the final third are now beginning to pay dividends, recognising similarities between his side’s third goal tonight with the one they scored at Manchester City on Saturday and against Barnsley earlier in the season.
“It was quite similar against City, it was quite similar against Barnsley – it was more or less the same. It is something that the players know why these things happen. It is really pleasing for me to see the way we do, the way they understand what we must do in each moment of the game. I’m really pleased to see it.”
He hailed the all-round contribution of Aleksandar Mitrovic, highlighting the Serbian’s selfless commitment to defending from the front over and above the two goals that had given the league leaders such a commanding cushion.
“Amazing, amazing, amazing what he is doing. He scored two goals and he was decisive again. I congratulated him afterwards not just because of his goals but without the ball tonight he was amazing. He worked for his team mates, he fought for each ball, he covered for Kebano, he did it really well. He knows I appreciate that. Of course, afterwards when we can create for him as well.”