Points to prove across the club as stretched Fulham search for stability

In charge: Marco Silva  (REUTERS)
In charge: Marco Silva (REUTERS)

After five seasons of rise and fall, Fulham want to stop the yo-yo years.

Their past two promotions to the ­Premier League were followed by immediate relegation but Marco Silva is hoping to make it third time lucky.

Fulham host Liverpool tomorrow with many tipping them to struggle again and, for everyone at the club, this season is about proving people wrong.

Owner Shahid Khan and son Tony were criticised for their past mistakes in the transfer market, having spent more than £100million the previous two times they were in the top flight only to be relegated. Manager Silva was sacked by Watford and Everton in his past two jobs.

The Fulham squad, meanwhile, features several players who have been sold by ‘big six’ clubs, including Bernd Leno, Harry Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Tosin Adarabioyo, Nathaniel Chalobah, Josh Onomah and Paulo Gazzaniga, who all have points to prove.

Pre-season has not gone to plan, with Silva complaining that he had just 16 players to work with after their final friendly with Villarreal last weekend. He said after the game: “We, as a squad, are not ready.”

Finishing 17th or higher would be success and Aleksandar Mitrovic could be key to their chances of staying up after his record haul of 43 Championship goals last season.

Mitrovic struggled the last time Fulham were in the Premier League, scoring just three goals.

“As a striker you always want to score,” he said. “I always try to push myself and hopefully this year will be my best year in the Premier League. It is going to be tough but I feel I am ready.”

They have sold Fabio Carvalho to ­Liverpool but big things are expected of £18m summer signing Joao Palhinha, a defensive midfielder who will add steel to a side that scored more than 100 goals in winning the Championship.

Fulham are targeting more arrivals, with West Ham centre-back Issa Diop their primary target to bolster their defence. There are also further attacking reinforcements being discussed like Roma’s Justin Kluivert and Bayern Munich’s Joshua Zirkzee.

“It will be a hard season,” said Mitrovic said: “Liverpool will be a big challenge but I am looking forward to it. They are one of the best teams in Premier League history. What a way to start. We have nothing to lose.”