Scott Parker confident Aleksandar Mitrovic can bounce back from Serbia heartache

Scotland’s David Marshall produced a brilliant save to deny Serbia frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic in Belgrade
Scotland’s David Marshall produced a brilliant save to deny Serbia frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic in Belgrade (PA Wire)
15:30pm, Fri 20 Nov 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Fulham boss Scott Parker maintains Serbia frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic will not be left dwelling long on what might have been after his penalty miss saw Scotland book their place at the Euro 2020 finals.

David Marshall saved Mitrovic’s spot-kick in last week’s shoot-out in Belgrade, which sent Scotland through to a major tournament for the first time since 1998.

Mitrovic was the top scorer in the Sky Bet Championship last season with 26 goals to spearhead Fulham’s successful promotion campaign.

Parker is confident it will not be long before the 26-year-old shrugs off the setback to again focus on Fulham’s Premier League survival battle, which continues with the visit of Everton on Sunday.

“Mitro has just come in today (from international duty), of course he is disappointed with Serbia not qualifying and missing a penalty, but he is a strong personality,” Parker said.

“As a centre-forward, you need to have that mentality about you, when you always put yourself on offer (to take a spot-kick), then there are always opportunities where you are going to be highlighted.

“Fine margins between success and failure are so little but again what determines how people react from that is the most important.

“I have no doubt that come the weekend, Alex will be raring to go.”

In contrast to last season’s fine form, Mitrovic has not scored in the Premier League since his brace during the 4-3 defeat at Leeds on September 19.

Parker, though, feels the former Newcastle striker should not be too hard on himself.

“As always, people always judge a lot of things on goals, certainly when you are a centre-forward,” said Parker.

“I think his last two performances in terms of a work ethic and what we need from him as a team have been exceptional.

“There is no denying I am sure he would say exactly the same, as a centre-forward, they really judge their own overall performance on goals.

“That has not quite happened for Mitro over the last few weeks but like anything I am sure that is going to turn in the near future.”

Fulham lost 1-0 at West Ham before the international break – after Ademola Lookman fluffed his Panenka-style penalty deep into stoppage-time at the London Stadium.

Lookman, 23, appeared inconsolable after his spot-kick mishap and vowed to come back stronger.

Parker has been impressed with how the on-loan RB Leipzig forward handled the fall-out with a positive mindset rather than just left mulling it all over again during the international break.

“Like with most things in life, and certainly in football, you need to learn from those mistakes and have those conversations, which we have as well, and move on very quickly,” the Fulham boss said.

“You have to practise and get better, understand the processes and decisions made, see where we can improve.

“Ade is going to be vitally important for us this year, he is going to be a big player for us, which we are going to need.”

Parker added: “He has that other bit to him where he wants to get better, wants to improve, spends a lot of time on his game and I have seen that over the last 10 days.”

Sign up to our newsletter