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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Craven Cottage

Silva lining for Fulham boss in defeat is form of his quickly-improving striker

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Timmy96

Fulham's fell to a fifth home defeat of the season at the weekend as high-riding Aston Villa made off with the spoils thanks to two Ollie Watkins goals.

There was consolation to be had in the way the Whites rallied after going 2-0 down and they came close to grabbing a point, not least when a smart pass from Rodrigo Muniz created a glorious opening from Adama Traore. It needed a great smother from World Cup winning keeper Emi Martinez to thwart the muscle-bound substitute.

But another positive to take from the game was the contribution of the man who nearly claimed an assist to go with a goal he netted to get Fulham back into the match in the first place.

The Whites have had to find alternatives this season to the go-to man of recent seasons. Aleksandar Mitrovic's decision to jump ship and chase the Saudi dollar has left a gap that has not been easy to fill. The hope was that Carlos Vinicius - scorer of last season's iconic winner against Chelsea - might fit the bill. But he has been moved on.

Raul Jimenez had a fine spell and loan signing Armando Broja could be the man in the final months of the season. But the recent surge from Muniz is particularly heartening for Marco Silva.

The Brazilian is only 22 and still learning his trade but four goals in the past three games suggests the Whites have someone they can work with.

He scored at Ipswich in the Carabao Cup in November, but the goals against Burnley, Bournemouth (when he bagged two) and now Villa are his first in the top flight.

Silva certainly likes what he sees. He said after the weekend loss to Villa: "The goals are always important for him. He had some good moments [on Saturday], even in the first half he had some good movements and he's getting better and better and better.

"I really believe he's going to improve. There is still big room for him to improve. He's a young lad and it's his first games at this level, in the Premier League.

"He's scoring his first Premier League goals. He's making a big impact in our squad. He's helping our team to get results or at least to fight for the results."

Silva added: "I'm really pleased for him because he's a very good boy and he's a boy with skills and qualities to work with.

"Of course it's my job to try and get the best of out him and when a striker scores goals, it's always important, and he's on the right track. But it's up to us keep working with him."


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