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Carvalho and Muniz delighted with Stoke success

Fabio Carvalho and Rodrigo Muniz disagreed over who scored Fulham’s second goal at Stoke this afternoon – but the pair were delighted to take all three points back to London.

The league leaders secured their fourth consecutive success to move eight points clear at the top of the Championship after winning an enthralling five-goal thriller at the bet365 Stadium. Muniz blasted home an early equaliser after the Whites went behind in the first minute and appeared to touch home Carvalho’s shot to make 2-1.

Carvalho lauded Fulham’s character to grind out a gritty victory on the road, telling FFCTV after the final whistle.

“Obviously as everyone knows, Stoke away is a tough game. They showed us that today. We knew that they were going to come after us – we’re top of the league, we’re the team to beat right now. We knew it was going to be a tough game but we grinded it out. We went down 1-0 first half, but we showed character to come back like we did the other day.”

Muniz, with Carvalho acting as his translator, added:

“I am very happy to get the goal. We showed real character to come back from 1-0 down. I am happy to be able to help the team when needed. I’m happy with all the fans signing my name, it gives me confidence. I am able to translate that onto the pitch. I’m really happy with the fans and the way it is going.”

Silva savours ‘important win’

Fulham boss Marco Silva heralded an ‘important win’ after his side came from behind to win a see saw encounter at Stoke this afternoon and stretch their lead at the top of the Championship to eight points.

The league leaders, without the services of top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic and the division’s highest assister Harry Wilson, responded well to the shock of going behind in the first minute. Brazilian forward Rodrigo Muniz replied immediately and put Fulham ahead before half time before Bobby Decordova-Reid thumped in the winner after Lewis Baker’s long-ranger had pulled the Potters level.

Silva told his post-match press conference:

“It was a really important win for us, really really important. Against Stoke here is really tough, really tough to play here. We knew before the match they would be a tough team to play against with quality, they can create a lot of problems for the opposition side.

Our players showed big character, good movement, fantastic goals again. I have to congratulate them, I’m proud of them. We gave a fantastic answer again. You have to give it week in week out. We know from the start of the season that our strengths come from the collective, not one or two players. We did that again without our two top scorers, two key players for us.

Perhaps everyone was waiting for Fulham not to win but our collective idea was there again, produced again. The players who came in did fantastic in a tough game. Stoke did well and created problems. It was a fantastic atmosphere and they pushed the team back. I’m really pleased for our players.”

Clinical Hammers condemn Fulham U18s to defeat

West Ham extended Fulham under 18’s winless league run to seven games as they turned in a clinical display to win the London derby 3-1 at Motspur Park this afternoon.

Although George Okkas cancelled out George Earthy’s opener on the hour mark, a sneaky second from Divin Mubama – who nipped in to score after Alex Borto had placed the ball done for a goal kick – put the Hammers in front before Callum Marshall sealed their third win in a row right at the death.

Ali Melloul’s side began brightly with Olly Sanderson drawing a smart save from Jacob Knightbridge, but West Ham looked dangerous in the final third from the outset. Mubama had a shot deflected wide after exchanging passes with Oliver Scarles. They went in front when midfielder George Earthy was first to the rebound after Gideon Kadua’s shot had struck the woodwork – and might have doubled the lead shortly afterwards had Luc de Fougerolles not producing a saving tackle in the nick of time.

Fulham struggled to create much of note by way of response with Michael Olakigbe shooting across goal in the home side’s brightest moment before the break. The young Whites started the second half on the front foot with an Olakigbe having another effort blocked before Okkas curled in a lovely leveller from Imani Lanquedoc’s cross. The equaliser only served to galvanise West Ham and, after Mubama’s cheeky effort, they should have made the points safe. Borto saved well from the lively centre forward but Lewis Orford missed the target entirely when it seemed easier to score.

Mubama was heavily involved in the decisive third, breezing away from Olakigbe and supplying the cross for substitute Marshall to make sure from close range. The disappointing defeat leaves Fulham in seventh place in the southern Premier League with nineteen points from thirteen matches.

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-3-3): Borto; Benjamin, de Fougerolles (Tanton 84), Araujo, Parkes; Okkas, Lanquedoc, McCoy-Splatt; Olakigbe, Works (Gordon 62), Sanderson. Subs (not used): Allen, A. Parker, Wildbore.

BOOKED: Works, Sanderson.

GOAL: Okkas (61).

WEST HAM UNITED (3-5-2): Knightbridge; Forbes, Tarima (Marshall 62), Casey; J. Robinson, Scarles (Falase 53), Orford, Woods, Earthy; Mubama, Kadua (Evans 69). Subs (not used): Terry.

BOOKED: J. Robinson.

GOALS: Earthy (16), Mubama (76), Marshall (90).

Robinson wins USA call up

Antonee Robinson has been named in the USA squad for their World Cup qualifiers later this month and will therefore miss Fulham’s Championship clash against Blackpool on 28 January.

The full back is included in Gregg Berhalter’s 28-man party for the fixtures against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras. Fulham will have the option of asking the EFL to postpone the Blackpool match if they have three or more international call-ups but with Tim Ream being left out of the USA squad, that will depend on whether Bobby Decordova-Reid and Michael Hector are included in Jamaica’s squad.

UNITED STATES SQUAD:

GOALKEEPERS: Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution).

DEFENDERS: Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Chris Richards (TSG Hoffenheim), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC).

MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (Los Angeles FC), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Luca de la Torre (Heracles Almelo), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)

FORWARDS: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Tim Weah (Lille), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew).

Why Patrick Roberts could be a cautionary tale

I remember when I first saw Patrick Roberts. At fifteen, he scored a brace for Fulham’s under 18s against Middlesbrough at Motspur Park. His general play was probably even more impressive than the composure in front of goal. Even by then, the teenager’s talents were far from a secret. He might have been slight but he had pretty much everything. Speed, skill, quick feet and a confidence that the very best players possess. He’d already earned international honours before signing a scholarship at Fulham and the bigger clubs knew all about his talent.

As we all know, Roberts’ career hasn’t followed the path everyone predicted when they watched him completely dominate youth football. Having scored fourteen goals for Fulham’s under 18s – for whom he starred as they reached the FA Youth Cup final – it was no surprise that he was fast tracked into a senior side that were scrambling for salvation at the foot of the Premier League. He was used sparingly by Kit Symons, sometimes infuriatingly so, and decided to move to Manchester City after submitting a transfer request.

With all the speculation surrounding Fabio Carvalho, Roberts is the arguably the cautionary tale to suggest that the big move isn’t always the right one. His talent was never in doubt – and a young footballer can’t be criticised for wanting to secure their financial future. He never looked likely to break through as City went from strength to strength under Pep Guardiola. The closest he came to delivering on all that potential was in a couple of successful loan spells with Celtic, where he won a domestic double, and actually scored against his parent club in the Champions’ League.

Roberts signed for Sunderland on a six-month deal this afternoon having struggled for game time at French side Troyes – during his eighth loan away from Manchester City. I sincerely hope he can rediscover the zest and energy that characterised his football as a carefree youngster, who looked destined for the top. It might be too harsh to suggest that Carvalho should consider Roberts’ career trajectory before he decides on his future, but he may want to reflect upon how pivotal he is to Marco Silva’s plans at present. Regular first team football is vital: giving it up to go elsewhere is a gamble, however talented you are.