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In Focus: Mitrovic Ful of confidence as he continues to shine
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Mitchell Fretton
Aleksandar Mitrovic has silenced his doubters by hitting the goal trail
Aleksandar Mitrovic has silenced his doubters by hitting the goal trail

Aleksandar Mitrovic grabbed four goals in two games for Serbia over the international window as he continues his fine form this season.

The Fulham striker has already scored six times in the Premier League, with only Erling Haaland boasting a higher tally.

His impressive start to the new campaign has shocked those who believed he could not perform at the highest level.

As the ex-Magpie prepares to face his old club Newcastle on Saturday, we take a look at the secrets to his success in 2022. 

Brute force

Mitrovic is a nightmare for any defender thanks to his physicality.

The 6ft 2in colossus is an expert in retaining the ball and is deadly in the air because of his no-fear attitude.

Consequently, 13 of his 30 Premier League goals have been headers, with 14 coming on his right foot and just three on his left. 

With his knack for wearing down defences, it is no surprise that Mitrovic is Serbia's leading all-time goalscorer, hitting the back of the net 50 times.

He is averaging 0.86 goals per 90 in England's top flight this season, in comparison to 0.31 per 90 in his previous campaigns.

The 28-year-old will certainly be able to use his strength as an advantage over Newcastle on Saturday — although he has failed to score in his last three meetings with the Magpies.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been on fine form this season
Aleksandar Mitrovic has been on fine form this season

Creating space

An underrated element of Mitrovic's game is his ability to shift the ball from his feet quickly, creating space for himself. 

Although he may not look to be the type, the former Anderlecht star has a great technique when it comes to shooting.

We saw this in its finest form when Mitrovic scored a beautiful, curling effort away at Tottenham to halve the deficit in what was an eventual loss for Fulham.

He used the positioning of Cristian Romero to shift the ball onto his right foot on the edge of the penalty area and bend a strike into the top corner.

He scored a similar style of goal for Serbia in a win over Luxembourg in July, with his effort leaving the keeper with little chance.

The advancement of his technical ability has made him a well-rounded striker and it is one of the reasons he is now scoring more often at the top level.

Accommodating his style

Playing fast, high pressing, constant pressure-based football is not going to suit Mitrovic.

Scott Parker tried to play this way when he was in charge of Fulham — the result was the player's worst return having played 20 or more games, netting just three times.

Now, the 76-cap international leaves the skills and tricks to the likes of Bobby Decordova-Reid and Neeskens Kebano on the wings, who provide Mitrovic with a bucket-load of chances.

Marco Silva prefers a 4-2-3-1 at Fulham, utilising the Serbian as a lone forward with a powerful presence. 

A traditional target man, crosses need to be supplied often to accommodate Mitrovic — the role of the full-backs is vital here as they often find space in wide areas to put the ball into the box. 

The Fulham boss packs the midfield so that the focal point is limited in his defending duties. This allows him to be central in almost all of his side's attacks.

Added motivation

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been the main man for Fulham in the Premier League
Aleksandar Mitrovic has been the main man for Fulham in the Premier League

The top players in football use criticism to fuel their drive and desire to prove people wrong.

Mitrovic has certainly done that this season and Fulham head coach Marco Silva is unsurprised that the Serbian is firing on all fronts.

He said: "I am not surprised, to be honest, because he has the quality to do it.

"I knew from the first day that if you play well, create chances and if you keep believing in his ability and capacity to score then he can prove that.

"It’s not a surprise for me, him or his team-mates. What’s important is what we know about each other inside our football club."

Mitrovic has echoed the thoughts of his manager, stating that he simply does not care about the critics.

That is clearly evident in his form this season — he only needs to score five more times to equal his best tally in the Premier League.


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