Scott Parker pinning hopes on ‘exceptional’ Aleksandar Mitrovic to boost Fulham’s bid for survival

Fulham boss Scott Parker is excited by the return of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic with the Cottagers desperate for points in their battle against relegation from the Premier League.

Mitrovic showed his potential with Serbia in the recent international break, hitting five goals to earn a first start for the Londoners in two months in the loss to Aston Villa.

Mitrovic justified his inclusion from the start, netting the opener, while causing havoc for Villa’s central defenders.

And although Fulham lost 3-1, Parker remains upbeat, with seven matches to go and three points separating them from Newcastle, and hopeful Mitrovic can fire his side to safety.

“I thought he was brilliant. He’s come off international duty with goals. Strikers, their main confidence source is goals,” said Parker, whose team are three points adrift of safety.

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“So he’d earned the right to start and I was very pleased with his all-round game. People will judge him for his goals, I judge him for his all round play, his work ethic for the team, and I thought he was exceptional in that.

“The icing on the cake for him was his goal, it’s just a shame it wasn’t a goal which got us some points, but it bodes well for us going forward.”

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The capitulation at Villa Park saw Fulham miss another chance to climb out of the bottom three, following a home defeat to Leeds prior to the international break, but Parker insists his players will respond.

“As always this year, when we have had bumps and a little adversity, we’ve come back. We’ve got another massive game (against Wolves) which we’ll be ready for, prepared for, hopefully better,” said the Cottagers boss.

Villa substitute Trezeguet changed the whole complexion of the game on Sunday, scoring his first two goals of the season in the space of three second-half minutes.

The Egyptian told the club website: “I am very happy for the goals, but I believe in myself.

“I believed it was coming because I work really hard with the team and individually. I train every day and work on anything I might be missing to get better.

“Sometimes things don’t go your way, but as long as you work hard, it will come. It just takes time, but it will come.”

PA

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