Eyebrows were raised in many quarters when the Premier League newcomers signed the 34 year-old veteran on a short-term deal after he had left Corinthians following death threats made against his family. But Silva insisted he had no doubts about the former Chelsea and Arsenal winger’s quality, even if he struggled in a single season with the Gunners.

Marco Silva wasn’t surprised by Willian’s superb showing against Aston Villa on Thursday night – and feeling that the Brazilian veteran is the perfect fit for Fulham.

“He is top level and a top guy who still loves football and that is a great thing for me. Every single day he comes in to training he has a smile on his face and even at 34 he is still learning and wants to keep improving. I think he showed the quality to make the right decisions and he was really good, and although from a collective point of view it is hard to single out a man of the match because the team did so well, he was really good.”

Once the Fulham head coach was satisfied that Willian was ready to return to England – he had no doubts about adding him to a Fulham squad that was short on Premier League experience.

“I never doubted his quality, but we had to think about his age, and in the minds of some people was his last spell at Arsenal where in the last few months he wasn’t at his best. But I remember at Arsenal he had a very good impact at the start and although you can’t compare the competition in Brazil to the Premier League, we watched him when we knew there was a chance we might get him.

Even there he had some really good moments, so it wasn’t a trial – it was just having a conversation to see where he was at. I didn’t need to see him train, or see his quality on the ball, it was just a matter of him feeling us and see how he felt about being here with us every day.

Then it was a case of me and him talking and we then took the decision together and it was the best for him and the football club. Despite all of his success, he is a humble guy, a top professional and a brilliant guy to have around.”