Marco Silva delivers Fulham verdict on Rodrigo Muniz following maiden league start | OneFootball

Marco Silva delivers Fulham verdict on Rodrigo Muniz following maiden league start

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Football League World

Fulham manager Marco Silva believes 20-year-old Rodrigo Muniz had a mixed performance against Derby County on his first Championship start, speaking to the Cottagers’ club journalists after last night’s showdown.

The Brazilian was brought into the starting lineup after key man Aleksandar Mitrovic was ruled out with illness, being given a chance to stake his claim for a starting spot after only being able to make eight cameos in the second tier this term before this clash against the Rams.

He may have failed to score in 120 minutes against Leeds United back in September’s Carabao Cup tie – but he has managed to get on the scoresheet three times in the league this season – securing his first goal for the club against Reading before registering a late brace at Blackburn Rovers earlier this month.

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With the young striker only arriving from home nation Brazil in the summer for an €8m fee, a price tag that comes with high expectations, his goalscoring record for the west London outfit has been reasonably impressive.

But he was unable to make the breakthrough for the hosts yesterday evening against a resolute and experienced Derby defence, despite going within centimetres of clinching a late winner.

Cottagers boss Silva believes there were positives and negatives to take from the 20-year-old’s performance, but commended his perseverance in what turned out to be a frustrating game for the table-toppers.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he said

“He’s a young boy, but hungry to learn and improve. We know he can score if our game from out wide is good enough.

“He had some chances in the second-half, sometimes he should’ve made a different decision, but that’s football.

“He did everything and tried everything, and we go again.”

Considering this was his first league start, there are certainly signs of promise in Muniz and he will only get better with more minutes, making it important that he gets enough game time for the sake of him and competitor Mitrovic.

Not only will the Brazilian benefit from an increased amount of time on the pitch, but it will also give 27-year-old Mitrovic the opportunity to come off when he’s at risk of burning out and with that, will reduce the risk of him sustaining up a long-term injury.

The Serbian has been their most important player this season with his goals, propelling Silva’s men to the top of the Championship table, so getting the rotation strategy right between the striking duo could be crucial for their automatic promotion prospects.

There shouldn’t be any temptation to loan the 20-year-old out yet, because he seems to be settled in well and shipping him out elsewhere in January could upset his rhythm.

And considering he’s only young, he can afford to be on the bench for a little while longer, with a view to being included in the starting lineup more regularly in the future.

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