Fulham boss Marco Silva praised substitute Carlos Vinicius’ second-half cameo in a 1-0 win over Luton in the Premier League.
Willian’s cross was parried by Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski into the path of Vinicius, who tapped in after 65 minutes.
Silva talked up the striker who took his opportunity off the bench despite finding himself second choice behind the misfiring Raul Jimenez.
“He made the impact that we needed in that moment on the pitch not just because he scored, of course that’s what is important for the striker but with his dynamic we needed him in that moment,” Silva said.
“We knew that around 60 minutes we should make the change. It was nice to see Carlos score and it was a very good week for him and he deserved the chance to come on
“It is nice to see him being decisive in the game for us and competition between them (strikers) is always important for us.”
Joao Palhinha returned to the starting XI and shone in the middle of the park just weeks after his failed transfer to Bayern Munich on deadline day.
Silva praised the professionalism of the midfielder, who renewed his contract in west London until 2028.
Silva added: “He’s a top player, a top professional and a top guy. Since the first minute he joined the club he’s showed his quality and his commitment.
“Any professional always wants to improve their career so it’s no surprise when one of the biggest clubs in the world wants a player they want to go and improve.
“I never had doubts about his commitment here and it’s nice to see him renew his contract alongside Harrison Reed – they’re both great use for this club 100 per cent.”
Luton have now lost four straight games and sit at the foot of the Premier League table.
Manager Rob Edwards praised his team’s efforts and admitted that missed opportunities from Jacob Brown, Amari’i Bell and Tom Lockyer cost the Hatters.
“We were in the game to the 94th minute and I’m very proud of the lads but we missed three golden opportunities today. Brown’s header in the first half, Bell’s chance and Lockyer’s at the end,” Edwards said.
“Carlton Morris should also have had a penalty so I think we could be in here talking about a very different result. I’m really proud, they committed to the tactics very well, we were fine with Fulham having the ball, we wanted to set traps and be a threat on the counter and I do genuinely think we should be here saying we took something from the game.
“We’re disappointed because we’re winners and we want to get points but I’ve seen progression again. I saw a very organised team who attacked quickly and were a real threat. It was hard for Fulham to play through us and to create key opportunities, we limited them to very few.”