Marco Silva prioritising promotion as Aleksandar Mitrovic approaches goal record



Posted Sunday, April 03, 2022 by PA

Marco Silva prioritising promotion as Aleksandar Mitrovic approaches goal record

Marco Silva insisted his focus is firmly on leading Fulham to promotion and not on the prospect of Aleksandar Mitrovic breaking the second-tier scoring record.

Mitrovic’s brace in the 2-0 derby triumph at QPR took the Serbia striker’s league tally for the season to 37, meaning he needs just six more goals to break Guy Whittingham’s 29-year-old record.

It also helped cement Fulham’s position at the top of the Sky Bet Championship and keeps them firmly in course for promotion.

However, Mitrovic can expect no selection favours from boss Silva – who would have taken him off against Rangers had Harrison Reed not suffered from cramp.

Asked if he felt it would be a shame if Mitrovic missed out on the record, Silva said: “I don’t look at this situation in this way.

“What would be a shame for us is if we don’t get our end goal at the end of the season. Individual things is not the main thing for us, to be honest.

“Of course if we can help him, we will help him. But it’s not something that is in our mind.

“To show you this: if Harrison Reed didn’t feel some cramp, it would have been Mitro to come out to protect him, to manage him and to give a chance to Rodrigo (Muniz) to go and play the last minutes.

“And I will manage the physical condition of Mitro for the next one. For us it (the record) is not the main thing.

“He is a really important player for us and he knows I just want him in the right spot to finish. He just needs to appear in the right spot.”

Mitrovic’s early opener put Fulham in control and he sealed the victory with a 78th-minute penalty after Lee Wallace was harshly adjudged to have handled Neco Williams’ cross.

“We definitely deserved the three points – no doubt about it,” Silva said.

“We knew this would be a tough one – a derby against a tough side.

“We wanted a reaction after the last defeat against West Brom and they were under the same pressure as they want to fight for a play-off position.

“We had a plan and from the first minute we controlled the match in every way.”

QPR manager Mark Warburton was furious about referee Gavin Ward’s decision to award the penalty.

Warburton said: “It was 1-0. We looked dangerous and had a lot of energy. Then we get that decision.

“The linesman didn’t give it. He’s not given the penalty. How is that given? We’ve been the recipient of some very bad decisions this season.

“We’ve received a number of apologies for bad decisions and I’m sure we’ll get another one. But that’s no good to us.

“At 2-0 it’s game over and sucks the life out of the game. Game dead. It kills our fans. So I’m more than frustrated by the decision.

“You have to be sure if you’re going to give a penalty in a game of that nature. Make sure you’re 100 per cent sure. Are you 100 per cent sure? His (Wallace’s) arm never left his side. I’m very frustrated by that decision.

A miserable day for Rangers ended with Warburton being yellow-carded and his assistant John Eustace sent off in injury time for remonstrating with the fourth official.

Warburton suggested that Eustace went to grab the ball during a melee on the touchline, initially believing a Fulham player had it before realising otherwise.

The QPR boss said: “The fiasco with John and the fourth official was just nonsense. Common sense has to be applied and once again it’s not.

“John immediately responded by saying ‘I didn’t know it was you’. But John’s off. What on earth are we doing?”

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