Scott Parker feels Aleksandar Mitrovic can benefit from his spell out of the Fulham team after a difficult start to the Premier League season.

The Fulham manager has left the Serbian striker out of his side since Mitrovic missed the decisive penalty in his country’s European Championship play-off defeat by Scotland, with the former Newcastle forward making just a single since November’s international break – against his old club at St. James’ Park.

Parker says he has had to draw on his own experiences to manage Mitrovic, who hasn’t scored since grabbing a couple of goals in Fulham’s 4-3 defeat at Leeds back in October.

“I think it’s fair to say that Aleks, at the start of the season, struggled a bit and had a bit of a dip in form. Being the one centre-forward in the football club, a lot of pressure and responsibility lies on Aleks’ shoulders. I played football for a long time, I understand those pressures and stresses. Sometimes coming out of the arena, and getting some air and oxygen, can help.”

“I’m sure it’s not been an easy period. That’s then down to me in terms of managing Aleks and understanding the reasons for that. Of course at the same time, Cavaleiro has done very, very well. The team has done very, very well.”

“At the time, players just live in the moment and see it for what it is. That little bit of air you give them, which maybe at first they don’t quite understand, or quite see, they come out the other side, and all of a sudden play with a little bit more freedom. They forget what was happening, that burden or dip in form that was maybe on their shoulders.”

Parker believes Mitrovic’s spell out of the team could be beneficial during the second half of the season and was impressed by his contribution off the bench in Wednesday’s draw with Brighton.

“I think that’s something that can only help Aleks. Every player has dips in form, every player has moments in their careers and moments in seasons. But like I said, I was really pleased with Aleks against Brighton. I thought he was superb when he came on. He was a real presence, showed his quality, played with a real freedom and energy.”