By David Charlesworth, PA
Marco Silva hailed Layvin Kurzawa as a “top, top player” as the on-loan Paris St Germain full-back helped Fulham move into the FA Cup fourth round after victory at Hull.
Kurzawa was making just his second appearance for the Cottagers following an injury-interrupted season but gave his side a first-half lead at the MKM Stadium.
Harry Wilson’s shot was parried by Hull goalkeeper Matt Ingram directly into the path of Kurzawa, who tapped in the rebound before fellow loanee Dan James’ breakaway goal at the death secured a 2-0 win.
Kurzawa, capped 13 times by France, has proved in the past he has an eye for goal, having once bagged a hat-trick for his parent club against Anderlecht in the Champions League in October 2017.
And having withdrawn the former Monaco defender as a precaution with a quarter of an hour to go, Silva hopes Kurzawa can become an important figure for in-form Fulham in the second half of the season.
“On the ball he’s a top, top player,” Silva said. “Where he’s played before in his career speaks for itself.
“The last two seasons have been difficult for him but he’s a very good player. He has quality on the ball and he always gives us different things in attack.
“We didn’t want to take risks with him, he’s building his fitness as well and we need him in the best physical condition as we can.”
Silva rung the changes for his Hull return, where he started his managerial career in England six years ago, after a busy hectic period in which Fulham climbed to seventh in the Premier League.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was left out of the squad altogether but Fulham managed to claim their fourth consecutive win to head into the visit of local rivals Chelsea on Thursday brimming with confidence.
“It’s fantastic,” the Fulham head coach added. “I have spoken about the winning mentality and the desire and it’s really difficult to keep playing games every few days at that level.
“But these type of feelings after the match that we are getting, it’s really important for us to try to continue.”
Despite the defeat, Hull boss Liam Rosenior believes his side are on an upward curve after making eight changes to Fulham’s seven on Saturday afternoon.
Harvey Vale was off-target with a gilt-edged chance early on while substitute Oscar Estupinan’s header was fantastically tipped over by Marek Rodak in added time when Hull only trailed by one goal.
Ingram going up for the corner as Hull went for broke led to James dribbling into an empty net after Fulham had cleared, eventually ending the challenge of the Championship side.
Nevertheless former Fulham defender Rosenior was taking the positives from Hull’s performance.
“I ask that every player put sweat and blood into the shirt and I think it is clear every single player at the moment is running and working for this team,” he said.
“It gives me a lot of positive thoughts and a positive mindset for the rest of the season.”