Marco Silva hopes his Fulham players at the World Cup will return from Qatar unscathed and in shape for the challenging demands of the rest of the Premier League season.
In the final match before the English top-flight, in common with all other major domestic leagues, takes a break for the first football World Cup in the Gulf, Fulham suffered a dramatic 2-1 loss at home to Manchester United on Sunday when teenage substitute Alejandro Garnacho scored a superb winner in stoppage-time for the visitors.
Defeat was hard on Fulham, with the Cottagers suffering a second successive loss in the closing stages of a league match, after conceding a stoppage-time penalty against Manchester City.
“It’s tough to take,” said Silva.
“I want the players now to have a small break. Of course, I wish all the best for the players going to the World Cup; it’s a great tournament and they deserve to enjoy it, so all the best for them.”
London club Fulham will have several players at the World Cup, including Joao Palhinha (Portugal), Harry Wilson and Daniel James (Wales), Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson (United States) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia).
“Let’s hope everyone comes back in the best physical condition they can, and the players coming back from the World Cup as well because, all together and all fit, we are stronger as a team,” said Silva.
“I hope, of course, not just our players, but all the players come back in a good physical condition to be ready for the second half of the season.”
Despite the United defeat, Fulham remain in ninth place in the Premier League, with Silva saying: “The players that are left here will have a small break and after they will have to start to work hard to come back stronger and that is the way.”
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