MARCO SILVA has called on his Fulham players to stand up and show they can fill the void left by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Mitrovic will be missing from Sunday’s clash with the foot injury that threatens the Serbia striker’s World Cup hopes.
And with Neeskens Kebano and Manor Solomon also sidelined, Silva’s forward choices are further limited.
The Cottagers suffered heartbreak at Manchester City last week, losing 2-1 to a late Erling Haaland penalty despite playing with a man advantage for over an hour.
And Silva believes having more available attacking options would put his team in a far stronger position to compete against the Premier League’s big boys.
He said: “Last week we had some issues as well to fix in our squad.
“As you know, I had just one offensive player on the bench. Probably, with different solutions, the game could be completely different in the second half.
“But I’m here to find solutions and I will do the same for Sunday’s match.
“It’s not just Mitrovic. Unfortunately for us, there are many.
“I’m not hiding that Mitrovic is a key player for me and for this football club. Probably some of you had these doubts last season and at the beginning of the season, but I didn’t have them.
“Mitrovic, in 58 games he has scored 50 goals under me. It’s an unbelievable number. Of course, if I don’t have this player, we are different, definitely.
“But it’s a moment for others to pop up.”
Fulham have defied expectations so far this campaign, winning 19 points from 14 games after being promoted from the Championship last season, and could go just a point behind Manchester United by beating them on Sunday.
Like all Premier League teams, Fulham will not return to action until December due to the World Cup break and Silva questioned the decision to hold the tournament in the middle of the season.
He said: “I think no one listened to the opinions of the players to decide that this competition would be in the middle (of the season).
“The situation when they decided if it would be in Qatar or a different country, or in the middle of the season for the first time or the end of the season, I think they don’t listen to the players.
“They decide and that’s it, the players have to prepare as best they can.”