When Aleksandar Mitrovic went out on loan, Rafa Benitez said ‘Hopefully he will score 20 or 25 goals’.
A little optimistic seen as Fulham had only 17 Championship matches left at the time.
After almost nine months without a league start, the Cottagers eased Mitrovic into the team, starting him with appearances off the bench.
With three goals in his last three games before Tuesday night, Mitro was…on fire.
Against fellow promotion contenders Sheffield United, the Newcastle loan striker has added another two goals tonight.
This makes it five goals in the last 14 days.
In seven appearances since he arrived at Fulham, Aleksandar Mitrovic has helped the West London club get five wins and two draws, lifting them to fourth in the table.
I understand Rafa Benitez’ reasoning about why Mitro doesn’t maybe suit the style he wants/needs to play in the Premier League but I do think it is a fair question to ask why the Serbian only got 11 starts in the Championship.
Tonight Mitrovic scored twice in the first half and almost got his hat-trick in the second, Fulham eventually winning 3-0, the other goal from past Newcastle target Tom Cairney.
3 February 2017 – Rafa Benitez asked about Aleksandar Mitrovic:
“My relationship with him (Aleksandar Mitrovic) is fine.
“He is a nice lad.
“You pick your team and I don’t need to worry about my ego – I have won trophies around the world and I don’t need to be worried about my ego.
“My priority to win games and you pick your team thinking…’This is the best team for me’.
“It was clear that he wanted, and needed, to play games.
“Now he has an opportunity.
“Hopefully he will score 20 or 25 goals.
“We will be happy with that.
“He would have more value.
“He will come here and say…‘I am a new player and you have to trust me because I have scored 25 goals.’
“Fine, no problem.”