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It was understandable that Aleksandar Mitrovic hogged the headlines this morning after his brace broke the back of QPR’s resistance and decisively turned the west London derby Fulham’s way. The Serbian striker’s looping header in the second half was a thing of beauty and probably proved the pivotal moment at a point when the visitors had inched their way back into the contest and were arguably on top. We all know about Mitrovic’s remarkable Championship scoring record and he is well established as Fulham’s talisman, but the sight of Jean Michael Seri running the show from central midfield still seems remarkable.

To describe the Ivorian’s previous three years with Fulham as undistinguished would probably win the award of the understatement of the year. For two of those seasons, a player the Whites parted with at least £22m to sign was not even at the club – farmed out on loan to Galatasaray and Bordeaux in the aftermath of a horrible first term in English football where Fulham, despite three changes in management, proved woefully ill-equipped to survive in the top flight. Seri seemed surplus to requirements this summer, too, with a permanent exit on the cards until new boss Marco Silva, a long time admirer from the playmaker’s days in Portugal with Paços de Ferreira, restored him to the Fulham midfield.

Seri’s transformation from costly folly to the crucial cog in the club’s engine room must rank as one of the most unlikely redemption stories in Fulham’s history. He seems ideally suited to Silva’s method of winning promotion back to the Premier League, with the pragmatism of Scott Parker decisively ditched for a far more cavalier way of playing football. I’ve previously voiced my concerns about Seri being used in a deep-lying role at the base of the midfield but it worked wonderfully against a Rangers midfield that struggled to nullify Fulham’s patient passing, with his experience and mobility allowing him to dictate proceedings behind the industry of Harrison Reed.

The 30 year-old played a crucial part in the opening goal delivering a trademark switch of play to release Neeskens Kebano into the space down the right with a raking ball from the middle of the field. There were plenty of more precise passes, too – ten in total into the final third – and, in a underappreciated addition to his game this season, Seri isn’t afraid to do his share of the dirty work. He won possession back six times in the QPR half as Fulham played with an intensity befitting this local derby. To underline Seri’s importance, he played the most passes of any Fulham player – 76 – whilst also receiving the highest number (51).

His most perceptive pass was the one that finally broke Rangers, just four minutes after Mitrovic had restored the hosts lead. A patient passage of passing was suddenly injected with a forward thrust when Bobby Decordova-Reid, switched to the number ten role in the aftermath of Lyndon Dykes’ equaliser, prodded a pass back towards the halfway line for Seri. He took it calmly in his stride, watched Decordova-Reid accelerate into space between the QPR defence, and stroked a glorious ball through the middle of the park. So perfectly weighted was the pass that Decordova-Reid hardly had to break stride as he advanced on Seny Dieng’s goal and his measured finish put the game beyond the visitors.

From being on the cusp of a permanent departure from the Cottage, Seri’s importance to Fulham’s fortunes is suddenly undeniable. Just as importantly, he has a smile on his face and is enjoying his football – after a chastening start to his time in England. His gleeful embrace of Decordova-Reid in the goal celebrations showed that as did the way he applauded the Hammersmith End for serenading him as he prepared to take a late corner. As the song suggests, Marco Silva’s man is finally making his mark.