Optimism is high at Craven Cottage at present. Fulham have made a far better fist of returning to the Premier League than many thought, especially as Marco Silva has had to manage meagre resources depleted by some devastating injuries to key players. The Portuguese head coach has proven his pedigree by making the Whites much more competitive in the top flight. Fulham have lost just one of their opening five games – a last-gasp defeat at the hands of table-topping Arsenal that still rankles – and return to North London for the second time in seven days with reinforcements after signing four players on another busy deadline day at Motspur Park.

The Cottagers laid down a marker on the opening weekend with a 2-2 draw against well-fancied Liverpool: it is arguable that perhaps Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk haven’t really recovered from being buffeted around by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has made a mockery of the pre-season predictions that he isn’t Premier League class. The Serbian striker has scored five goals in as many games – exactly as many as the entire Manchester United squad – but his success has much to do with the fact that Silva’s system, and an adventurous approach, gives the hulking nine possession in places where he will be able to hurt the opposition. Pragmatism is a thing of the past: at least where Fulham are concerned.

Silva has shown a deft ability to tweak his tactics to suit the level Fulham now find themselves in. The fluid and expansive football that reminded everyone of Tigana and Jokanovic in the Championship has given way to a combative, high press, ferocious brand of football that makes Fulham a far tougher nut to crack. The drive and intensity comes from the exceptional energy of central midfield pairing Harrison Reed and Joao Palhinha, but it coarses throughout the entire eleven. There’s a streetwise nature to this Fulham side that their Premier League predecessors lacked: witness the way Bobby Decordova-Reid and Tom Cairney expertly kept the ball in the corner to manage the seemingly ceaseless stoppage time against Brighton in midweek.

The Fulham head coach might face his first selection dilemma in a while at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow. He picked the same eleven out of necessity against the Seagulls – with a small Whites squad down to the bear bones – and he will probably keep faith with a tried and tested formula, even if new arrivals can supplement the substitutes’ bench. All four deadline day signings have merit: left back Layvin Kurzawa provides competition for Antonee Robinson, who has began this campaign so successfully, and experienced winger Willian has a point to prove after disappointments in the red half of north London and his native Brazil. Carlos Vinicius could feature against a side he enjoyed a loan spell with, whilst Dan James should secure a spot in Rob Page’s World Cup side with a regular run in the team.

Tottenham are tricky opposition and not just because Antonio Conte is a serial winner. The Italian’s imprint is writ large throughout this side, who have already put in a number of impressive performances, and Spurs are on an unbeaten run stretching back eleven matches following their comfortable victory at Nottingham Forest last weekend. Fulham might have finally won a London derby against Brentford last month, but they have a wretched record against Tottenham: winning just once in their last twelve visits to the white half of north London, when a winner from Dimitar Berbatov against his old club secured a sweet win for Martin Jol.

Fulham have scored just five goals in their last twelve away games at Tottenham, with Mitrovic’s equaliser at Wembley – which was set up by Ryan Sessegnon, who has shown the potential we all knew he had this season – proving fleeting at the start of Jokanovic’s all-too-brief Premier League experiment. To do better this time, the Whites will need to keep a close on Harry Kane, a frequent Fulham scourge, whilst hoping that Son Heung-Min’s goal drought somehow continues. It won’t be easy but Silva’s side will be backed by more than 3,000 travelling fans as they seek to spring another surprise.

MY FULHAM XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tete, A. Robinson, Adrabioyo, Ream; Reed, Palhinha; Kebano, Decordova-Reid, Pereira; Mitrovic. Subs: Rodak, Mbabu, Duffy, Chalobah, Cairney, James, Willian, Stansfield, Vinicius.