BY DAN EVANS
Marco Silva reiterated the importance of keeping Joao Palhinha at Fulham following his side’s 1-0 win against Luton Town today.
The Portuguese international, who saw a transfer to Bayern Munich fall through on the final day of the summer transfer window, returned to the Fulham team after missing the 5-1 defeat to Manchester City.
He has since signed a new contract to remain at Craven Cottage until 2028 with an option of a further year, and his manager never doubted his dedication to the cause.
“[He is a] top player, top professional, top guy – since the minute he joined the club,” said Silva. “I was responsible for bringing him to this football club with support from the board, I know him from a long time ago.
“He dreams of improving his career. What happened with Joao can happen with any of the 25 players in our squad, but I never had any doubt about his commitment.”
The victory against struggling Luton was Fulham’s first home win of the new Premier League season, leaving them on seven points after five matches.
Although it is a point fewer than they managed at the same stage of last season, the Fulham boss was convinced his side are set for another strong campaign.
Silva believed the win, coupled with the closing of the transfer window, will only see Fulham go from strength to strength in the coming weeks.
“It was crucial for us to win at home with a clean sheet,” he said.
“Five games [played], and we have had a tough schedule and many [refereeing] decisions against us as well.
“With more time now [the window has shut] we are going to improve in terms of performance. I want to see better.”
The departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic coupled with the speculation surrounding Palhinha dominated Fulham’s preparations for a second consecutive season in the topflight.
Silva believes it is a situation they have to get used to if they are going to continue to be successful.
“The club should be ready for this type of situation,” he said. “If we keep getting results then this type of summer will come often for us. We have to be ready for that and prepare well for the future.”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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