Marco Silva said he will make sure Fulham share his ambitions before entering talks over a new deal, with his current deal set to expire at the end of next season.
The Cottagers remain on course to record their highest-ever top-flight points haul this season as they need two wins in their last three games to become a record year.
Silva stock has risen sharply since acquiring Craven Cottage after the team’s relegation to the Sky Bet Championship in 2021, return to the premier league on the first try and ensured a comfortable midfield position.
They had briefly looked like a challenge Europe They finished sixth after a 1-0 win at Brighton in February but have fallen behind after just three league wins since then, a rise partly linked to the loss of top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic to an eight-game suspension collapsed.
Mitrovic will return for Saturday’s game against bottom Southampton as Fulham look to cap a historic season.
But with a resource gap an obstacle to breaking through into the top seven, Silva was asked if he needed to leave the club to fulfill his potential or if he would have to fight to break the league’s glass ceiling.
“As a manager, if you can do something in one season, you should strive to do better next season. That’s always the case,” said Silva. “I know that the high expectations sometimes play against you, that’s clear.
“My way of being in football is always trying to do something different, improve in all aspects of the game and perform better. Of course, when you perform better, you get different results and try to improve those results as well.
“We have to be realistic, but at the same time we have to be really ambitious as a football club because the competition is getting tougher, it’s getting more difficult and we have to prepare as well as we can.”
“We want to improve all aspects of our game and as a club.
“Definitely (ambition will play a role in contract negotiations). It’s been like this since the first season I joined the club. In the first season, I knew what was in store for me at that moment. It was a club that was relegated. The situation in the league is trying to establish the team and get the best out of the squad you have.
“The season after that we did well in the market and didn’t spend as much money as other clubs but I think we did really well. Next season we have to do the same, try to improve in all areas of the squad and of course fulfill the ambitions of me and the owner of this club, just like we have done in the last two seasons.”
Top scorer Mitrovic will be available for the first time since his suspension for assaulting the referee in Fulham’s FA Cup elimination against Manchester United in March.
The striker has been training with the club during his suspension and Silva insisted he will be ready to play a role in his side’s last three games.
“I didn’t feel like I really needed to give him a week to be with the family or to chill out a bit,” the manager said. “He didn’t need it.
“What I’ve always seen from him is that he’s willing to work. It’s a very good sign, a sign that he knew what to expect in this long time, but at the same time he knew he had to work really hard, and he did.
“Now it is important that we forget the last eight weeks and everything that has happened. When you compare everything that has happened this season, it’s incredible how many games have been played, but that was the decision and you have to respect it.”