Marco Silva insists he will not sacrifice Fulham’s attacking approach against Manchester City in Saturday’s battle between the Premier League and Championship leaders in the FA Cup fourth round.
The Whites are the highest-scoring team in the top four divisions, with 74 league goals, but face a stiff test of their attacking prowess against a Pep Guardiola side that have conceded just 14 times, won 12 of their last 13 league matches, and not lost since October 30.
Silva has not tasted victory against Guardiola in eight previous attempts and expects another tough task, but says he wants this team to embrace the challenge.
“They have been the best for the past few seasons apart from that fantastic season Liverpool had,” Silva said.
“Ever since Pep joined the club they have been dominant, not just in terms of trophies, but the quality they have shown. It is not just winning it is the way they are winning.
“It will be a tough match for us, but the FA Cup always a little bit different, something special and although it will be the toughest match we have this season, at the same time it is the easiest for us to prepare because it is so clear what they want to do and they way they do it.
“But the trouble they often do it perfectly and we will have to be at our top level. But always we will play with big ambition and try to enjoy the moment as well knowing that when we have the ball ourselves we have to match them.”
Silva formed a friendship with Guardiola when he was managing Everton and said he is excited to get the chance to catch up once again with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.
“We have a great relationship and it will be a pleasure to be with him again and to have a chat at the end of the match and it is a relationship we will keep, for sure,” he said.
“About him as a manager, I don’t want to be another one saying that he is one of, if not the best in the world, everything he has done in his career has been referenced.
“But for me it is not just about winning trophies every year, it is the way his sides win trophies.”
Liverpool loanee Neco Williams will make his debut for the Whites at right-back after joining on deadline day, with Kenny Tete sidelined with a groin problem and Dennis Odoi.
The 20-year-old Wales international is highly-regarded at Anfield and was rewarded with a new four-year contract 18 months ago after making his Premier League debut for the club.
His attacking style will augment Silva’s front-foot approach, but the Portuguese said he expects Williams to work on the defensive side of his game.
“Between Denis Odoi and Kenny we had two different things; one is a more offensive and the other a more defensive right-back,” he said.
“Now we have two offensive right-backs, Neco can add different things to our offensive process as well, but first thing is that he is a right-back and the main job for him to do is to defend.”