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Mitrovic's a ight for Silva deal; STRIKER SHOWS HE'S WORTHY OF PREM-TIME TV.

Byline: IAN WINROW at Craven Cottage

FULHAM 3 STOKE CITY 0 Wilson 5, De Cordova-Reid 53, Mitrovic 72

ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC celebrated his new Fulham deal in style - even if he did manage to fluff his lines in the final seconds of the game.

The Serbia striker signed a new five-year deal 24 hours before extending his top start to the term with his fourth in five games.

Mitrovic's strike came after efforts from Harry Wilson and Bobby De Cordova-Reid as Marco Silva's side laid down an early marker in the Championship promotion race. And the margin of victory would have been even more if the striker had not blasted an added-time penalty too close to Stoke keeper Josef Bursik.

Not that Silva was bothered by the

VITAL STATS forward's miss with the Cottagers's boss convinced his unbeaten side are beginning to click.

FULHAM 8.......Shots on 6.......Shots off 8 .................Corners .................7 ................. . Fouls 3 ............... Offsides.................82.0 Passing 490..... Total 50.6.......Possession........46.4.Territorial

Silva said: "Mtrovic had a good game for us and he is happy. And he is an important player for sure, no doubts about it. He missed a penalty, that doesn't matter, he'll score the next one. But so many players did well it would be unfair of me to just talk about him."

The former Everton boss can be satisfied with the way his side have started their bid to bounce straight back into the Premier League.

STOKE CITY Target........3 Target........6 ................... 7 ................... .9 .................. 3 Success..82.0 Passes.........471 .......49.4

Four wins

Adv%...53.6 and a draw in their opening five says it all. And this display sent out a message to their nearest challengers - especially as Stoke arrived at Craven

Cottage unbeaten after their best start in 23 years. Silva added: "It was a very good performance from the first minute until the last. The only thing was we should have scored more goals... 1-0 was not enough from the first half with the chances we created. We should be more clinical.

"It's a process. We are building something and creating something.

"The players have to buy the idea of the manager and they are doing that. But it's so early to talk about it.

"It's not the moment to say what we can do."

Wilson fired Fulham ahead in the fifth minute after getting on Mitrovic's set-up from De Cordova- Reid's cross.

The home side struggled to find a way past Bursik during the rest of the first half - but made the breakthrough when De Cordova-Reid caught Mitrovic's shot. FULHAM: Gazzaniga 6; Odoi 6, Adarabioyo 8, Ream 6, Robinson 7; Carvalho 7 (Reed 80, 6), Seri 7, Onomah 7; Wilson 8 (Kebano 87, 6), Mitrovic 9, De Cordova-Reid 8 (Cavaleiro 74, 6). Subs not used: Rodak, Bryan, Mawson, Anguissa. STOKE CITY: Bursik 8; Smith 5 (Doughty 73, 6), Ostigard 6, Souttar 6, Wilmot 5, Tymon 6; Clucas 6 (Sawyers 68, 6), Allen 7, Vrancic 6; Brown 5, Fletcher 5 (Surridge 59, 6). Subs not used: Davies, Fox, Batth, Thompson, Surridge, Sawyers.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Aleksandar Mitrovic: Stoke simply couldn't handle the striker who was involved in all of Fulham's goals. REFEREE: Jarred Gillett 6.

VITAL STATS

FULHAM STOKE CITY 8........Shots on Target .........3 6 ........Shots off Target .........6 8 ................Corners .................7 7 .................. Fouls....................9 3 ............... Offsides.................3 82.0 . Passing Success...82.0 490......Total Passes.........471 50.6.......Possession........49.4 46.4.Territorial Adv%...53.6

CAPTION(S):

IT'S HIT AND BLISS Mitrovic shows his delight after netting the third goal
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IAN WINROW at Craven Cottage
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2021
Words:564
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