Aleksandar Mitrovic joined fulham under our former manager Slaviša Jokanovic, a fellow Serbian who at the time seeked to revitalise a mediocre start to a promotion campaign, immediately he was a hit with him scoring a surprising 12 goals in only 17 appearances for Fulham, being an immediate hit in Jokanovic’s amazing 23 game unbeaten run. But even at that time it was obvious he had limitations, while he reigned supreme aerially his pace and on occasions technical skill on the ball left something to be desired. These problems were part of the cause of his underperforming in the premier league in the next season.

The following season in the Premier league was quite frankly abysmal with our recruitment simply going for players who had good statistics not those who could play our attacking brand of football, and so Mitrovic of course suffered and only scored a very mediocre 11 goals all season, a record which he has already matched this season. There were constant rumours throughout previous Premier League seasons that he would leave for leading sides, but, luckily, those reports never became reality.

Under Scott Parker, Mitrovic’s form turned from good in the Championship, scoring a respectable 23 goals, to non-existent in the Premier League, where he was only made 23 appearances and scored a dismal three goals, and by the end he was out of any kind of form and not to mention out of shape.

So how did Mitrovic go from a striker who “can only do it in the championship” to one of the best strikers in the country? Quite simply its down to those around him; Jokanovic helped to refine him from an aggressive unpredictable player into a fairly capable striker, but when under Parker any progress made with Mitrovic was lost during his time at the helm during the 2020-2021 season, but under Silva things went from awful to amazing in a matter of months, Silva rebuilt the team around Mitrovic, giving him the support of people like young star Fabio Carvalho and a philosophy which suited the Serbians style of play. But it isn’t just the manager at Fulham but also who supports Mitrovic on the field – many of us I’m sure can remember the almost telepathic understanding Joe Bryan struck up with Mitrovic in that Championship season. how many perfect crosses were thrown in from that left side towards Mitrovic? This continued under Silva in the Championship, even if Bryan was not a regular starter, with excellent service from Carvalho and now from Andreas Pereira and Willian, both of whom have their fingerprints all over most of the goals Mitrovic scores.

What about Mitrovic makes him so good? While he has certainly got an amazing shot now, and his finishing is top class which is shown by goals like the one against Tottenham where he got it into the top tight corner from just inside the box, and its undoubtedly true that his ball control and skills have also been excellent this season, these historically haven’t been his strongest attributes, while he is now reasonably quick his pace is most certainly not where his goals come from, and looking back at his goals both in the championship and the premier league a couple things stand out, his ability to get to the ball before any defender, and his positioning to receive the ball, time and time again he gets through a defence into the six yard box, something which few of todays strikers can claim to be experts at but he makes look easy. All this is why he has been, is, and will continue to be our main man on and off the field, his newfound technical skill, finishing and controlled aggressiveness is what makes Mitro on fire, and defences terrified.