Fulham count the cost of Man City clash as injury woes pile up for final games
Marco Silva is determined that Fulham's season will not fizzle out, but acknowledges the run-in will be far from easy after the loss of two more players in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Man City.
Tim Ream, who has been a revelation in this campaign and not missed a minute of action, was forced off with a suspected broken arm after match-winner Julian Alvarez trod on him. Andreas Pereira - a vital cog in this season's success story - was stretchered off with an ankle injury. Both players may well have played their last games of 2022/23.
The Whites boss was already having to cope without another of those remarkable summer signings - Willian - and that is before he has to factor in Aleksandar Mitrovic still having to serve out the final games of an eight-match suspension imposed after the FA Cup loss at Old Trafford.
"The worst thing this afternoon was not the result but the two players that we got injured," Silva said.
"They both looked serious injuries in both situations. Tim Ream will probably not play more games this season after breaking his arm and let's hope Andreas is not so serious.
"After the situation with Mitrovic and the injury of Willian as well, in a short squad like we have, it's really tough to take.
"The last two months have been tough for us.
"In two seasons he [Ream] didn't miss one training session, and that talks about himself, how he's a very good professional and it will be a big blow for us but it will be chance for others to come in and show their quality."
Fulham's stretched resources have come at the very moment they might have been pushing on to challenge for a place n Europe, but the final five fixtures will test their ability to husband dwindling resources.
After a trip to Liverpool on Wednesday, they have home games against Leicester City and Crystal Palace and trips to Southampton and Man United.
The one consolation from a damaging Sunday afternoon by the Thames was the way they competed. Pep Guardiola admitted Fulham had given his team as testing an examination as anyone in their recent charge back to the top of the table.
Silva said: "We started in the worst way possible, but losing the match 1-0, we showed the character to come back to equalise. We had a clear plan to try and hold a bit more the central area of the pitch and we created problems for them to make chances.
"The good thing for us is these players keep showing the character and personality to be really competitive and to show the quality at this level."