Fulham manager Marco Silva insists the club are not feeling the pressure of being among the promotion favourites as he prepares for his first game in charge.
Middlesbrough, under manager Neil Warnock, will be Fulham’s first opponents of the new Championship season as Craven Cottage could welcome more than 2,000 fans for the first time since February 2020.
The Cottagers were relegated last season after just one campaign back in the Premier League, while Silva had been out of work since being sacked by Everton in December 2019.
Silva took the reins on July 1 after Scott Parker had departed to become Bournemouth manager, and insists being labelled as one of the league favourites is of no concern to the squad.
“When you look for the Championship competition and the contenders, it is normal that you create some favourites and the teams that got relegated, normally they are the three contenders to the competition and they are the favourites, or everyone calls them the favourites,” Silva said.
“There is something natural, it is normal for us and it is not even a pressure for us because we look for that as a normal situation in football.
“Given time, we and other clubs will for sure try to do the same and get to those spots on the table that can give us the chance to play Premier League next season, and there are enough past examples that it is not so easy as everyone thinks.”
The Fulham squad were heavily reliant on the loan market last season, including five members of the first team and stand-in captain Joachim Andersen, but the new manager says he is satisfied with his squad.
““I am happy with the players that we have here but sometimes to say that we kept all the squad is not true,” the 44-year-old said.
““We kept our players, but if you remember we played last season with five loan players and none of them are here today. I’m not working with them.”
Silva has already made two signings since taking charge, bringing in midfielder Harry Wilson from Liverpool and former Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, but more deals could yet be made before the end of the transfer window.
“Until August 31 anything can happen in football, even something you don’t expect,” he said.
“We are ready for anything that can happen in the market. We didn’t have some offers for some important players in our squad.
“Of course I would like to keep all of them, but we are looking to the market to strengthen our squad as well.”
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