Fulham boss Marco Silva hopes Raul Jimenez responds strongly to recently being dropped.
The Whites will return to action on Monday following the international break when they visit high-flying Tottenham, with former Spurs forward Carlos Vinicius likely to keep his spot in the team.
Jimenez, who was signed from Wolves this summer as a replacement for Aleksandar Mitrovic, has not scored in the Premier League since March 2022 – but Silva denied he was dropped against Sheffield United in order to take him out of the firing line.
“I don’t think Raul needs a manager to put him on the bench to take the pressure off him,” Silva said.
“Of course when there are so many games where you haven’t scored a goal I understand why people ask the question, but it is never good for a player when they sit on the bench.
“Players need to feel that pressure is a privilege, because if you start the game it should be a privilege because you have worked so hard to be there.
“He wasn’t the only change, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Alex Iwobi also started the game.
“We made changes because we knew that was not going to be too much space in behind. The way we knew Sheffield would approach the game, we decided to use a different profile of a number nine.”
Silva insisted he felt no need to speak to Jimenez and explain his decision and that he has a good relationship with the forward.
“All the players need the people, the staff and the management to speak to them,” Silva said.
“Some need more than others and sometimes this type of conversations make them better.
“I am the type of manager that has this type of relationship with my players.
“I am speaking to Raul and Vinicius as well but I don’t think Raul is desperate to have conversations with me.
“He is working hard and desperate to help the team and that is the most important thing for me.”