With Mitro in the form of his life and four successive wins under our belts, the Cottage garden has been looking pretty rosy recently…
However, it wouldn’t be Fulham if everything was perfect and Tosin’s needless red card on Saturday took a little of the gloss off an otherwise supremely professional performance. The other niggle presently is the Carvalho contract saga with fresh rumours on the eve of this game being an unnecessary distraction. As fans we can’t be sure what is going on and it will be a good test of Silva’s management skills to keep the camp happy and united if indeed our latest prodigy does have itchy feet.
But the main decision for our manager before this game was who was going to replace Tosin. Silva gave the nod to Michael Hector and as Big Hec was an integral part of our play-off winning side two years back, I had no qualms with this choice. After becoming a forgotten man last season he understandably had a couple of rusty touches early on but after that acquitted himself well. Fortunately for us, the attention very swiftly turned to the other end of the pitch and within 6 minutes some fine work on the right by Bobby Decordova-Reid led to an adept finish by our favourite Wizard of Wriggle, Neeskens Kebano and we were on our way.
The early goal took the wind out of the home side’s sails and when Mitroooooo headed our second, even with a Blackburn defender hanging on to his shirt we looked even more in control. 2-0 is never a done deal in football though so we had to remain on our mettle and there were some half hearted appeals for a penalty when a ball flicked Denis Odoi’s hand. Bearing in mind the ball hit him with his back turned it would be hard to consider it deliberate and even though Lee Hendrie on Sky argued the case for a pen, the referee took a more sensible view. He also let Harrison Reed’s accidental handball go and within seconds our night was made easier with a red card for Rovers defender Van Hecke. There could be no argument about this decision and it was just good fortune that Harry Wilson wasn’t seriously hurt, just as it had been on Saturday when Antonee Robinson was the victim of an equally ludicrous challenge by Robert Snodgrass.
With a two goal cushion at the interval and a spare man I was pretty confident we’d keep enough control to see out another victory but I was about to be very pleasantly surprised. Mitro first demonstrated how much more Silva is getting out of him with a sublime turn and pinpoint pass to Wilson who finished clinically with his right foot. The pair combined again for our 4th with the Welshman this time clipping home with his left. Not to be outdone Monsieur Kebano was soon popping up with a second of his own and if 5-0 wasn’t enough the night was still to get better!
Rodrigo Muniz has looked pretty lively in the little cameos he’s had but with Mitrovic in supreme form, he’ll be aware that his chances are limited. It was therefore lovely to see him pop up with two poachers finishes of his own to show us that if our super Serbian is unavailable we’ve got an able deputy at hand. The way the pair of them celebrated at the end was a heartwarming sight and was another indication of how Silva has transformed our talismanic striker.
Perhaps Scott Parker might be pondering why he didn’t give Mitro a different role and a little more trust last season but for now he’ll be more concerned by a Bournemouth defeat that made our night even better. By contrast Marco Silva should be sleeping easily tonight and our five wins on the bounce since the disaster at Coventry suggest he’s eradicated any complacency in the squad.
As long as we retain this ‘Fulham Focus’ then it seems more good times are ahead. With one more game before the international break it’ll be nice to see Fulham provide some Posh Spice on Saturday to keep the momentum going.