One of the stories of the first half of the season was Jean Michael Seri’s return from the periphery to become a pivotal part of a Fulham side pushing for promotion. The Ivorian midfielder had been written off as an example of Fulham’s costly folly after winning promotion to the Premier League in 2018 but emerged from the shadows to pull the strings perceptively for Marco Silva as the Whites began to move towards the top of the Championship table.

Such was his consistency that plenty of Fulham fans were both worried about how the side would fare in his absence at the African Cup of Nations and whether the Whites would exercise the option in Seri’s contract, which expires this summer, that could extend his stay at Craven Cottage. Quite some turnaround for a man considered surplus to requirements in the summer after being farmed out on loan for Fulham’s two previous Championship campaigns.

Seri seems to have answered the second question decisively in last night’s match programme. “The last two times Fulham got promoted was by the playoffs, but this year we want it to be different. We want to dominate the league…not just get promoted, we want to be champions. That’s the main thing that’s changed our mentality. What’s more important is Fulham has to stay in the Premier League. I will give my all. It will be my first ambition, to help Fulham stay in the Premier League.”

Silva has such an abundance of riches to select from central midfield that Seri has had to wait for his chance to impress after returning from Cameroon. There have been a couple of substitute appearances, but he has played second fiddle to Tom Cairney and Nathaniel Chalobah in recent weeks. Paired with the all-action Harrison Reed in the middle of the park against Peterborough – perhaps as a response to the laboured display in the defeat by Huddersfield on Saturday – Seri stroked the ball around effortlessly, running the show from the middle of the park as the visitors appeared reluctant to press him too vigorously.

His blonde highlights, apparently an instruction from his wife, were prominent throughout as he took possession off the back four and switched the play with eye-catching ease. There was one sublime 40 yard pass out to Bobby Decordova-Reid on the right in the first half that seemed improbable, but not only did Seri envisage floating the ball over three Peterborough players, he pulled it off to perfection. Much better was to come in the second half. He should have ended up with at least one assist as Mitrovic failed to profit from one through ball when on at hat-trick and Harry Wilson seemed to be pulled down after the Welsh winger latched onto another.

Seri, who playfully asked the Hammersmith End for more volume in the second half as he prepared to take a corner, looks a cut above in this division as do several others in the current Fulham line-up. The real test will be whether he can deliver in the top division – where space and time will be at a premium. Silva has plenty to ponder as he looks both to consolidate Fulham’s strong Championship position and plan for the demanding challenges that lie ahead. Having a rejuvenated Seri among his options, however, is a real tonic.