Marco Silva has insisted Fulham have achieved nothing yet despite making it to the FA Cup fifth round while riding high in the Premier League.
Last season’s Sky Bet Championship winners booked a home clash with Leeds after a 3-2 fourth-round replay victory at Sunderland on Wednesday evening after cementing eighth place in the top flight with Friday’s 0-0 draw at Chelsea.
However, asked to asses the campaign to date, boss Silva said: “Of course we are really pleased with it. The players have been brilliant this season so far – and I have to say last season too.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) February 8, 2023
“This kind of mentality, we have to keep creating inside the dressing room, the players have to have the right mindset as well.
“It’s not something that comes so easily and this season has been very good work from all the players, and I have to congratulate them.
“Of course, we are pleased with the season so far, but again, we haven’t achieved anything yet. We want more. We are a really ambitious club and a group of players and we want more.”
The Premier League outfit, who made nine changes to the side which started at Stamford Bridge, looked to be cruising at the Stadium of Light when they went 2-0 ahead through Harry Wilson and substitute Andreas Pereira.
However, the hosts twice dragged themselves back into the tie, through Jack Clarke with 13 minutes remaining and then again at the death when, after Layvin Kurzawa had made it 3-1, substitute Jewison Bennette gave the Black Cats renewed hope.
Silva said: “We scored the second goal and at that moment, everyone thought that probably the game would be killed, but they believed until the end.
“It was a real FA Cup tie with both teams trying to go through. I think overall tonight, we were the better team.”
The Portuguese watched the game from the stands as he served a touchline ban, but later admitted that experience is not something he wants to reprise.
He said: “The view is much, much better, I have to say, but I would like not to repeat.”
For opposite number Tony Mowbray, whose starting line-up included nine players aged 23 or under – but no recognised striker – while 15-year-old Chris Rigg was used from the bench, there was both disappointment and encouragement.
Mowbray said: “I’m very conscious of trying to lose the narrative that we’re a young team. I think they’re good enough, you can see that.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 or you’re 30, if you can compete and you can run and pass and you can shoot and tackle, you’re good enough.
“Our ambition is to be competitive in every game. Tonight was always a big ask without a recognised striker and we were all disappointed on the transfer [deadline] day that we didn’t manage to get a number nine over the line.
“But listen, I still think they’re exciting.”