Marco Silva has hit out at the Premier League for the scheduling of Fulham’s Premier League trip to Newcastle United, accusing the body of putting his players’ welfare at risk.
Fulham beat Chelsea 2-1 in a rescheduled match on Thursday to make it four top-flight wins in a row for the first time since 1966 as they closed in on an unlikely European spot.
Silva’s side now face a quick turnaround as they take on high-flying Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday, just 62 hours on from full-time in the Chelsea match.
Speaking ahead of Fulham’s trip north, Silva said: “It will be difficult for us because we almost don’t have time to prepare for the game.
“I think it’s unfair for us to start that game at 2 p.m. (GMT) on a Sunday. The way they scheduled the game with Chelsea for a Thursday night is difficult to understand.
“It is really dangerous. It is really dangerous for the players that they are going to start the game again. You have to take care of the players if you want to see good games.”
Newcastle have played out back-to-back goalless draws in the Premier League, yet they head into the weekend’s action sitting third in their hunt for European football.
The Magpies beat Leicester City in midweek to reach the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, where Southampton await, but all focus for now is on a tough test against in-form Fulham.
“The semi-final is on the horizon for us and it’s given us a lot of positivity. But our focus turns to the Premier League,” Howe said.
“Fulham are very much in good form. Marco has done a very, very good job. I’m very impressed with their style of play.
“They’re not getting results in any other way than being a cohesive team unit. It will be a good test of our defensive capabilities.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Newcastle United – Callum Wilson
Wilson has gone six matches without scoring either side of representing England at the World Cup, where he also failed to net in two substitute appearances. However, the 30-year-old has scored four goals in his four Premier League games against Fulham, including in both of his appearances as a Newcastle player.
Fulham – Aleksandar Mitrovic
Fulham did not exactly miss the suspended Mitrovic against Chelsea, with Willian and Carlos Vinicius filling the void, but Silva will be glad to have his top scorer back on Sunday. The Serbia international, who previously represented Newcastle, is out to become the first Fulham player to score in four successive away Premier League appearances.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Newcastle are looking to complete the league double over Fulham for the first time since the 2007-08 season, while they are also looking to win three in a row against the Cottagers for the first time ever.
– Fulham are winless in their last six Premier League away games against Newcastle (D3 L3) since a 1-0 victory in May 2009. Their last two visits to St James’ Park have finished level.
– Newcastle are unbeaten in their past 13 Premier League games (W8 D5), only having one longer unbeaten run in the competition (14 between May and November 2011). That run of 14 games came under Alan Pardew, also the only time this century an English manager has gone 14+ Premier League games without defeat.
– Fulham have won their past two away Premier League games, beating Crystal Palace and Leicester City while keeping a clean sheet in both. They have not won three in a row since April/May 2008, while they have never won three away top-flight games in a row without conceding before.
– Newcastle have kept a clean sheet in their past four Premier League matches – the Magpies have never kept five in a row in the top flight in their entire history. They last did so in league football between August and September 2009 in the Championship.