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Marco Silva backs record-breaking Aleksandar Mitrovic to shine in Premier League

Marco Silva celebrates with the Championship trophy (John Walton/PA)
Marco Silva celebrates with the Championship trophy (John Walton/PA)

Fulham boss Marco Silva backed Aleksandar Mitrovic to be “more confident” in the Premier League next season after the Serbia striker took his Championship tally to 43 in a title-clinching 7-0 rout of Luton.

The 27-year-old managed only three top-flight goals last term as the Cottagers were relegated, but Silva feels he will return a wiser player in 2022-23.

“He will be more confident next season – we need to be that as a club as well,” the Portuguese said.

“All of us have to improve every single year. We cannot judge him just by the goals he scores next season – we have to analyse many other things from him.”

The 44-year-old added: “We have to prepare well ourselves. It’s not really different from this season. The challenge will be tougher, but it was tough this season.

“We’ve built and created something special this season. If I don’t have ambition at my age then something is wrong.

“I have to congratulate all of them, our full squad, the staff working behind the scenes.”

Captain Tom Cairney struck just before the half-hour mark, after good work from Harry Wilson, for the Cottagers’ 100th league goal of the campaign.

Right-back Kenny Tete fired home from 20 yards to double the hosts’ advantage before the break, with the Hatters seemingly in danger of buckling after a Fulham side determined to end the season on a high.

Fabio Carvalho registered the third before Mitrovic notched his first of the evening just after the hour mark.

Bobby Decordova-Reid’s neat turn and shot made it five, substitute Jean Michael Seri lashed home a sixth and then Mitrovic’s second in stoppage time secured him the all-time second-tier record.

The result was a blow for play-off hopefuls Luton, whose manager Nathan Jones urged his players to quickly turn their focus to Saturday’s home clash with Reading.

He said: “We had a really tough day. It was a really tough game to watch. But they’re the best team in the division, and congratulations to them. They’ve got a fantastic side.

“We’ve got nine first-team injuries. We’ve been magnificent. Every single thing is going against us in terms of injuries.

“What we have to do is make sure we dust ourselves off, and we’re ready to go at the weekend.

“Let’s look forward to that, rather than dwell on a performance that was poor.”