Fulham have arguably the league’s best striker in Aleksandar Mitrovic, but he’s proving to be a blessing and a curse for Scott Parker this season.
Scott Parker is a man under increasing pressure at Craven Cottage. His side are 8th in the Championship after 15 games, two points off the play-offs. But with the players at his disposal, and the signings made in the summer, Parker is certainly underachieving at Fulham this season.
A 3-0 home defeat to Hull City was Parker’s lowest point of the season so far and it’s brought to light several issues that the club currently has.
The former Fulham man has instilled his philosophy of possession-based, high-pressure football at the club and at times this season, they’ve looked the best footballing side in the league. But Parker’s persistence with this was his downfall at the weekend – he had no Plan B for Hull, who picked them apart on the counter-attack.
Another problem for Fulham is that, if the whole team doesn’t centre around Mitrovic, then the whole team doesn’t perform well. The Serb is that good that, especially true at Championship level, managers are forced to set up their teams to get the maximum from Mitro.
That’s what Fulham didn’t do against Hull – the defensive performance is a whole other issue in itself, but the wingers that day, Ivan Cavaleiro and Bobby Reid, were too focused on cutting inside and going for goal themselves, rendering Mitrovic fairly useless that day.
Take the win against Luton Town last month. Mitrovic was given chance after chance that game and he managed to covert three of them to give his side a 3-2 win.
Will Fulham make the Championship play-offs this season?
Having Mitrovic is both a blessing and a curse for Fulham. The league’s top goalscorer with 11 goals, he’s already matched his tally of last season and is only one away from equalling his best return since moving to England.
He’s a Premier League striker and at 25-years-old, still has his best years ahead of him. But with him leading the line, everything alongside and behind him must be fine-tuned to his standards, or the side just won’t perform.
Cavaleiro has a few goals for the season, so too has Tom Cairney. But neither come close to Mitrovic’s record or even his importance to that team.
Parker must find a way of getting his Fulham side to play more like a team, and the pieces will soon fall into place at Craven Cottage.