Fulham boss explains tactical thinking behind Iwobi and Pereira both starting against Manchester United

Marco Silva revealed that he fielded both Alex Iwobi and Andreas Pereira in midfield against Manchester United to give Fulham more creativity in their 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage.

Fulham had the better chances in a cagey affair but were ultimately beaten following a late Bruno Fernandes strike.

Iwobi and Pereira had previously only started alongside one another in the 3-1 win against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United last month, with Silva opting for more defensive alternatives in recent matches against Tottenham and Brighton.

“It was to be more dynamic, to try to be more creative,” Silva explained.

“When you look at the teamsheet you think this is a really offensive team to play against Man United. We knew it, but we accepted the type of game we were facing and we wanted to be more creative in certain areas of the pitch

“We wanted to use Alex and Andreas in the pocket areas that we like to use to create wide triangles.

“In the first minutes of the match we had some problems [with the formation] when Man United went direct and won some second balls. They tried to punish us but we adjusted to help Alex be more ready for the second balls with Joao [Palhinha] and from that moment we started to control them really well.”

Despite creating the better chances in a low-quality affair, Fulham have now failed to find the net in five of their 11 Premier League games this season.

Rodrigo Muniz was handed his first league start of the season after scoring against Ipswich in the Carabao Cup in midweek, and he proved a nuisance for the United defence without threatening to score.

And the 22-year-old’s afternoon was brought to a premature end in the 76th minute, when he was forced off in tears having sustained a suspected knee injury.

“We don’t yet, it’s too soon to say something about it,” said Silva when asked about the extent of the injury.

“I hope it is nothing serious. He had a very good game in a tough game to play.

“Unfortunately, in that moment he felt the knee. Let’s hope it is nothing serious.”

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