Fulham head coach Marco Silva has told his players that they cannot take Premier League newcomers Luton Town lightly this weekend.
The Hatters earned promotion after winning last season’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final on penalties and they have lost their first three Premier League fixtures.
Many onlookers have already written off Luton’s chances of avoiding relegation but Silva has insisted that his Fulham players cannot lose focus when Rob Edwards’ side travel to Craven Cottage on Saturday.
“What I know and what I saw from the first three games that they played – plus the Carabao Cup game (against Gillingham) – even if they didn’t achieve the results they wanted (in the Premier League), they are a tough team to play against,” Silva said.
“They have some characteristics that is not what you always face in the Premier League, they have different characteristics that are tough to play against, and we have to be always with the full focus.”
Silva told a press conference: “We have to play with quality, we have to play at our best level to show the quality.
“They have five at the back every time, plus three midfielders and the two strikers. They are always a threat in some offensive transitions and in some moments inside the box as well.
“We have to really focus on the challenge with them, with a lot of first and second balls.
“The way they play they are going to demand a lot from ourselves, and it’s a game that from our back line, from our midfielders, we will demand real focus.”
Fulham announced on Thursday new deals for midfielders Joao Palhinha and Harrison Reed.
Portuguese midfielder Palhinha had looked to be on the verge of joining Bayern Munich ahead of the summer transfer deadline, but has now committed himself to the Cottagers until 2028.
“It is great news for us as a football club,” Silva said.
“There has been a lot of noise for the past few months around our club, everything what has happened.
“We felt it was a good moment to take important decisions and to give the fans good feelings as well.”
Silva will make a late call on captain Tom Cairney, who has a knee issue, but should have fit-again Alex Iwobi in line to make his debut following a deadline-day move from Everton.
Fulham have not won in the league since the opening weekend, and were beaten 5-1 at Manchester City before the international break.
Silva, though, feels he has seen enough to stay positive for the challenges ahead.
“We have been really competitive in all games,” he said.
“Things out of our control have made it more difficult, but I prefer to look forward and we are going to improve.”
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