BY DAN EVANS
Marco Silva praised striker Carlos Vinicius for being what Fulham “needed” in their narrow 1-0 victory against Luton Town today.
The Brazilian striker scored the game’s only goal just three minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute to secure the Whites’ first home win of the season.
Vinicius had not featured this term ahead of the Luton game, but Silva felt the matchwinner was the right man to call upon to decide a contest that looked destined to finish goalless.
“He made the impact that we needed,” said Silva. “Not just because he scored, of course scoring is always the most important thing for a striker, but [he had] the dynamic that we needed in that moment.
“It’s nice to see Carlos score at the end of a very good week from him and he deserved the chance [to play], and it was nice to see him be decisive.”
Competition between Fulham’s remaining strikers has gone up a level after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s summer move to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal.
Raul Jimenez has started all five Premier League games so far this season but endured a frustrating afternoon against the Hatters.
The Mexican is yet to find the net since arriving from Wolves in the summer and he registered just one shot at goal before being replaced by Vinicius in the 62nd minute.
However, Silva pointed to how the rest of his team did not do enough to bother the Luton backline rather than pin responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Jimenez.
“Raul only arrived on Thursday morning [after international duty with Mexico], we knew that at around 60 minutes we needed to prepare to make the change,” he said.
“We knew it would not be the dynamic that we needed for the 90 minutes. It doesn’t matter which striker is on the pitch, if you don’t create for them they are not going to score. We have to perform better for our strikers to score more goals.
“Competition between them [the strikers] is always important for us.
“They have to compete and then it is up to me to decide who is the best striker for each game.”
The Fulham boss also praised Luton for the difficulty they posed his side. Despite enjoying just 22 per cent possession, the Hatters limited Fulham to two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes.
“It was difficult, to be honest,” said Silva. “We expected them to play 3-5-2 behind the ball, this afternoon they played with just one striker.
“[They had] nine players around the ball and were always really deep, it is not something that we face every week at this level. When you have the ball for such a long time you have to be more dynamic to create the chances you need.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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