Sheffield United: Boss issues warning about Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic
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Entering the final round of Championship games ranked fifth in the table, Paul Heckingbottom’s side know that a win will see them qualify for the play-offs and potentially join the visitors in the Premier League next term.
Mitrovic’s record-breaking exploits - he scored his 46th goal in 51 appearances during Monday’s 7-0 demolition of Luton Town - are the major reason why Marco Silva’s side wrapped-up promotion, and eventually the title, with four matches to spare.
But speaking ahead of this lunchtime’s contest, Heckingbottom reminded: “Listen, there’s no doubt he’s a top goalscorer. He scores different types of goals too, which makes him even more dangerous.
“He doesn’t need many chances and has presence. He suits how they play.”
“But take him out,” Heckingbottom continued, “And they still have a top team. Listen, to score the goals he has, that’s why they are champions. But he’s not the only top player they’ve got.”
Although they face the toughest assignment of all the other clubs still vying for a top six finish, United, two points ahead of seventh-placed Middlesbrough, will take confidence from the fact they beat Fulham at Craven Cottage earlier this term. That fixture, settled by Iliman Ndiaye’s superb solo effort, is one of only 21 domestic and international outings Mitrovic has failed to score in since August.
“With Mitrovic, it’s about stopping his supply and stopping him,” Heckingbottom said, “But you can’t just concentrate on him because, for example, look at Harry Wilson and his goals and assists.”