Fulham manager Marco Silva believes his team has discovered a steely resolve which will help their promotion challenge.
The Cottagers’ final result before the international break was a 4-1 defeat at Coventry after leading at half-time.
And against west London rivals QPR at an expectant Craven Cottage, they led 1-0 again before conceding an equaliser. This time, though Silva’s team roused themselves to secure a deserved 4-1 victory.
Aleksandr Mitrovic and Bobby Decordova-Reid struck in four second-half minutes after Lyndon Dykes had cancelled out the Serb’s opener, with Antonee Robinson adding late gloss to the scoreline.
Silva said: “It was an important result for us. It was pleasing to see such a good reaction from ourselves. We spoke about what happened in the last game.
“I was pleased to see how we started the game and we should have scored the second goal to be a little bit more comfortable.
“QPR had a good reaction. They never give up and unfortunately we didn’t start the second half the way we wanted, but then it was a fantastic reaction in adversity and we deserved the three points. They are three important points as well.
“I had a short conversation with the players at the end of the match and said that this is what you should do when something goes wrong, in adversity.
“Against Coventry we should have reacted in a different way. I’m pleased to see we did today and pleased to see the smiles on the fans at the end of a derby match.”
Silva admitted that international breaks are difficult to manage for clubs like Fulham, with a 46-game league schedule to navigate.
He added: “To get consistency we just need to work more and more with the players. If they are with me every single day, I am 100 per cent sure that they will improve more and more as a collective, on and off the pitch.
“It is good for us as a club to have international players. We are proud of it and that means they are important players for their national teams, but it is difficult, too, because you don’t have normal weeks to work with them.
“You only have seven or eight players to work with, whereas it would be better to have 10 or 15 days to work with all of them.”
Silva also praised striker Mitrovic, whose two goals took him to 12 in the Championship so far this season.
Silva said: “He is a really important player for us. Since the first day I met him, I have been clear about what I demand from him.
“It’s not just that he scores important goals for us. It’s also the way I see him working more and more without the ball.
“That’s something I demand from him, but of course we also have to keep him as fresh as we can to decide games for us within the box.”
Rangers manager Mark Warburton criticised his side’s soft centre which allowed Mitrovic the time and space to score.
Warburton said: “There was a bit of a softness about us in the first half which is very unlike us. You can play all the nice football you like, but in terms of duels and challenges you’ve got to do the basics. We showed a bit too much respect in the first half.
“[Mitrovic] is a talented forward but he had time to bring the ball down in the box and finish. We had to be tighter on him.
“He had every chance to bring a lofted cross down and have a strike at goal. I didn’t see Charlie Austin getting that much time today.
“I’m not being industrial here, but I’d like to think that their attacking players came off sore today. I don’t mean because of park-type football but you’ve got to be strong with your challenges and the first contact.
“There’s an old saying about earning the right to play. I don’t think we earned that right today.”
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