EPL

No extra motivation for Aleksandar Mitrovic heading back to scene of meltdown

By Sports Desk May 27, 2023

Fulham boss Marco Silva insists Aleksandar Mitrovic has nothing to prove on his Old Trafford return following an FA Cup meltdown there in March.

Mitrovic was handed an eight-game ban after grabbing referee Chris Kavanagh during Fulham’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester United.

The Serbia striker has scored three goals in two games since returning from suspension – taking his total for the season in all competitions to 15 – and ends his best top-flight campaign on Sunday back at Old Trafford.

Asked if Mitrovic will be especially fired up against United, Silva said: “No, not at all. Mitro doesn’t need this type of incentive.

“I think he showed in 25 minutes against Southampton that it doesn’t matter the club that he is going to play against, (and) last week against Palace.

“He is Mitro, he doesn’t need to play against certain types of teams or in certain situations to be more motivated.”

Fulham will end the campaign 10th whatever happens at United – their first top-half Premier League finish since coming ninth in 2012 – but the Cottagers have a powerful incentive to finish the season on a high.

Victory will set a new Premier League points record for the club, a draw will match the 53 points achieved in 2008-09 under Roy Hodgson.

Silva said: “It’s a brilliant season for us, no doubts about it. For everything, not just because about the position we have to be proud of.

“The position we are going to finish, the way we achieve it. The way we keep improving the individual and collective of our squad. It’s been really good.

“We knew before this season started that it would be crucial for this club to remain in Premier League.

“Credit to the players because of the right mindset, they are always ready to learn and work.

“They bought our ideas and philosophy as well to the way we are going to play football.”

United secured a top-four finish and Champions League football next season by beating Chelsea 4-1 on Thursday.

Erik ten Hag’s squad will expect a rousing Old Trafford send-off on Sunday before next weekend’s FA Cup final date with neighbours Manchester City.

“They already played one final (Carabao Cup) and they are going to play another one,” said Silva, whose side have suffered late league and cup defeats to United this season.

“For a club like Man United it is really important that they are fighting for some titles. They changed some things (this season), they signed good players – two or three that made a huge impact in their squad as well.

“I think they’ve been showing this season that they’re a massive club.

“The individual quality they have, in my opinion, is clearly in the best teams in this league.

“They have players in the attack line and midfield line who can decide the game in one second if you switch off.”

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