Aleksandar Mitrovic is a major doubt for Fulham’s Premier League match at West Ham on Sunday after injury on international duty and manager Marco Silva says clubs need protection.
The Serbia international, who has scored six times in the top flight this season, was withdrawn in the first half of Fulham’s 4-1 defeat against Newcastle last weekend with ligament damage in his foot.
Manager Marco Silva hopes the injury to his star striker is not serious, but admits he faces a race against time to be fit for Fulham’s clash at the London Stadium.
“He [Mitrovic] is still a doubt,” said Silva ahead of the trip to Newcastle.
“He was outside this morning, doing some work, getting better. We will assess him tomorrow and see how he reacts from the work, and then take a decision for the match.
“It is not a situation that is really, really serious but we have to get him in the best condition we can.
“He could be ready for Sunday, he can be ready for next week. It will be day-after-day that we decide and analyse him.”
Silva revealed that Mitrovic sustained the injury as he scored a hat-trick in Serbia’s 4-1 Nations League win over Sweden on September 24.
The 28-year-old then played 89 minutes for his country just three days later when he again found the target in a 2-0 away win against Norway.
Mitrovic started for the Cottagers at St James’ Park last Saturday, but he lasted just 37 minutes before he was substituted.
Silva added: “We are not there [in Serbia], but of course we were in contact with the medical staff and the feedback we got is that the player was in a condition to play. We spoke with him, too and he told us he was in a condition to play.
“We are supporting the players in everything and we know that it is important for them to play for their national teams. It was a decisive match for Serbia and it makes us proud as a football club.
“But at the same time we would like some protection. It is important that if we protect them in our football club that at another level they do the same.
“I am not saying that they have not done that, but we have to deal with the situation and it is a big frustration when something like this happens on an international break.”