Marco Silva believes the gap between the Premier League and the Championship is increasing and that it will become much harder for sides to replicate what Fulham achieved last season by retaining their top-flight status.
Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town are yet to secure a win this season after their promotion to the Premier League, with Sheffield United suffering an 8-0 defeat at home to Newcastle on Sunday.
Fulham managed to secure a 10th-placed finish under Silva last year and, along with Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth, avoided immediate relegation.
But speaking ahead of his side’s Carabao Cup clash with Norwich City — a club who have similarly flitted between the top two divisions over recent years — Silva suggested the chasm is only growing.
“It’s really hard and becoming harder,” he said. “In my opinion, it (the gap) is getting bigger, partly because the Premier League is so competitive, on the pitch and off the pitch as well.
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“Last season we saw how much clubs were fighting not be relegated, how much they spent in the January market. It was unbelievable that situation. Everyone wants to be at the best level.
“Some clubs are more prepared for that. The Championship is tough, but look right now, Leicester (are top), they are a Premier League club and were for 10 years. For some it is not so difficult, but for others it is, and Fulham and Norwich are good examples from their years of up and down.
“When you have the chance to be here, if you don’t take the right decisions, if you are not really strong as a group, if you don’t play well, if you are not competitive, it is going to be tougher. It shows it is difficult to do what we did last season.”
Silva said it was too soon to write off the survival hopes of the bottom three, however.
“What everyone is saying about Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United, is what everyone was saying about Bournemouth and Forest last season,” he added. “Bournemouth lost 9-0 at Anfield. Everyone said no chance but all three clubs stayed up. It’s too early.”
Silva wants to use last year’s painful cup memories — including a shock 2-0 defeat by Crawley Town in the Carabao Cup and self-destruction at Old Trafford in the quarter-final of the FA Cup — as motivation for this year’s tournaments.
“The players know it is important, they feel it,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Norwich. “They felt it this morning when we were preparing the game. They are going to feel it tomorrow. You have to be humble enough to understand this is an important competition. It does not make sense if you are not thinking high in this type of competition. We would like to have a good run in this competition.”
Silva said there would be some rotation for the game, but Sasa Lukic, Adama Traore and Tosin Adarabioyo remain absent.
Lukic has returned to training after a groin problem, while Traore is recovering from a hamstring strain. Kenny Tete also missed the Palace game on Saturday with a groin issue.
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