Fulham: Marco Silva rues loss of absent duo as cup runs end

Marco Silva admitted Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey have been "two big misses" for Fulham with the pair having been absent for the club's FA Cup and Carabao Cup exits due to Africa Cup of Nations commitments with Nigeria.

Forward Iwobi and defender Bassey were key to Fulham's success in December, where the Cottagers claimed back-to-back 5-0 victories over West Ham and Nottingham Forest and defeated Arsenal 2-1 on New Year's Eve.

However, the two summer signings linked up with the Nigeria earlier this month, helping their country into the AFCON quarter-finals where they will play Angola on Friday, and were unavailable for Fulham's Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool as well as Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Newcastle in the FA Cup.

Silva, speaking ahead of Tuesday's Premier League visit of Everton, said: "[Iwobi] and Bassey too, they have been two big misses for us.

"They played in the last game against Arsenal and the team was in a good moment. Bassey was in his best moment since he joined last summer. Alex has been an important player in our attacking line and someone who can play in many positions."

Fulham have beaten Everton on both occasions this season, with victory coming in the form of a 1-0 league win in August before a penalty shoot-out triumph in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in December.

And despite their recent cup disappointments, Silva, who managed the Toffees between 2018 and 2019, believes Fulham can have confidence going into the match after their results against Sean Dyche's men this season.

He added: "It gives us the confidence that we can repeat again. Everton will think the opposite way. It gives us confidence that we can perform well to get it done.

"It will be a competitive Premier League game and we are positive we can get a result again."

Everton, who received a 10-point deduction in November for breaching the Premier League's profitability and sustainability rules, sit one point clear of the bottom three and seven behind 13th-placed Fulham.

Silva believes his former club will bring a physical presence to west London and that his Fulham team will need to have a "very good night" in a game he says the Cottagers need to win.

"We know what they are capable to do, they will demand a very good night from ourselves because we need to win the game," Silva said.

"Their reaction [to the points deduction] was impressive and we need to be fair and realise that it was.

"It's always tricky when you play a Sean Dyche team. They are a difficult team to beat and play against. For me it is clear that in all moments of the game it can become physical in all the challenges and the duels and they are able to build and create chances as well. They are a solid side.

"Everton away from home have been one of the stronger sides. We know that they are a dangerous side, we know what they are capable to do."