Last night’s win at Nottingham Forest was a sight to see. Here, Fulham were true to Marco Silva’s ideals. He might share little else with one of his illustrious predecessors, but the Portuguese coach’s philosophy is almost identical to Kevin Keegan. Silva backs his players to keep the ball and score one more than the opposition. We saw that most clearly in the local derby against Brentford earlier in the season – where the Whites continued to pour numbers forward when the percentage play was to shut up shop. Fulham lost a two-goal lead and were indebted to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s extraordinary header for retrieving the bragging rights.

But last night’s clash encapsulated Silva’s approach most clearly, particularly with Fulham under pressure after conceding a poor goal from a set play. Nobody should be allowed to win two free headers in your own box at a corner – and it was alarmingly easy for Forest to take the lead. Jared Gillett still isn’t my favourite Premier League referee after his errors at Arsenal and it seems very strange that he missed Brennan Johnson almost pulling Tim Ream’s shirt off as he crossed the halfway line in the build up. Given that the VAR went back a long way to penalise Arsenal for a foul at Old Trafford recently, one wonders why there was no check on that.

The more contentious decision was opting for a yellow for Steve Cook after he cynically chopped down Willian as the Brazilian winger bore down on the penalty area. Silva seethed on the sidelines, not just about those decisions, but more pertinently at Fulham’s failure to move the ball quickly and prise open a Forest back line that hasn’t been watertight in the early weeks of the season. His decision to deploy Tim Ream as a left back – an experiment that was an unmitigated disaster in the Kit Symons era – highlighted a reluctance to depart from the preferred 4-2-3-1 as well as serious confident in the American veteran’s ability. The sight of a 34 year-old Ream – who now leads the league in interceptions – bringing out the tricks at the corner flag deep into stoppage time will live long in the memory. Was Gregg Berhelter watching?

Silva certainly was. His faith in his selections meant there were no substitutions at half time, despite Fulham dominating the ball and still being behind. The head coach rationalised that if his side kept probing and moved the ball quicker, the opportunities would come. He was proved right in dramatic fashion – with three strikes in six minutes making the Whites comparable to London buses, or an Avanti West Coast train if you prefer a more modern analogy. The crucial role that Willian, a signing that I expressed some scepticism about, played in at least two of the goals underlined what the former Arsenal and Chelsea wide man can offer – even at 34 years old.

The first goal was all about Willian’s wicked delivery. His inch-perfect ball for Tosin Adarabioyo to attack at the back post suggests that Andreas Pereira shouldn’t have a monopoly on Fulham’s corners. The other elements of Fulham’s success from dead balls were all in evidence: Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose influence on proceedings shouldn’t be diluted by the fact that Serbian didn’t appear on the scoresheet, delivering the perfect block on Ryan Yates to give Adarabioyo ample time to head home his first Premier League goal.

You could the fragility in Forest after that concession. They collapsed alarmingly here recently against Bournemouth, but nothing quite as dramatically as what followed. Joao Palhinha’s superb strike will hog the headlines but Fulham patiently worked the ball into a promising area and the wonderfully weighted cut back from Kenny Tete, allowed the Portuguese to opt for a sidefoot over pure power. His passion, which inadvertently robs Fulham of his services on the other side of the international break, makes him an instant crowd favourite – but Palhinha’s goal threat is valuable, allied to all of his diligent defensive work.

The clinching third goal was a work of art. Few of the pundits have picked up on the sumptuous pass from Mitrovic that set Bobby Decordova-Reid scampering along the right flank, but it was threaded through with the sort of nonchalance that might have reminded older fans of Johnny Haynes – and there can be no higher compliment for a Fulham player. Decordova-Reid did brilliantly to get his head up on the byline and find Reed lurking at the far post and the ginger from Worthing finally broke his duck with a delicious finish. Of course, Forest scored to add anxiety to the final quarter of an hour, but this Fulham side are built different to their fragile forebears.

If we need empirical evidence, consider the fact that this is Fulham’s second best start to a Premier League season. Only the Chris Coleman side that started off like a train in 2003/04, collecting fourteen points from seven games, has done better. They were powered by the predatory instincts of Louis Saha, who left for Manchester United in January. The parallels with that team – also heavily tipped for the drop – are strong. The travelling contingent sung about going a European tour after the final whistle, but Silva wisely will look to temper expectations within the playing squad. All that remains to say is that the Whites look in safer hands with the Portuguese than at any point in the recent history. Luke Harris’s contract was a lovely Friday fillip, but the man most deserving of a new deal is the one in the dugout.