Former Newcastle manager Steve McClaren believes Aleksandar Mitrovic needs to be ‘loved’ in order to get the best out of him.
McClaren signed the 23-year-old from Anderlecht in the summer of 2015 and the Serbian international, scoring five goals before the former England boss was sacked in March 2016.
‘Mitro’ is adored by a large section of the Magpies’ support but he hasn’t been able to quite hit the heights he did in Belgium, or indeed on the international stage with Serbia.
Mitrovic scored six goals in World Cup qualifying as he helped his national team qualify for the World Cup, but he was largely third choice at Newcastle this season - behind Joselu and Dwight Gayle.
When Newcastle secured the deadline day signing of Islam Slimani from Leicester, Mitrovic was allowed to join Fulham and he has scored seven goals in his last six outings for the in-form Cottagers.
And McClaren believes that is because Slavisa Jokanovic is showing Mitrovic the love he was not getting at Newcastle.
“He came in as a young boy at Newcastle, he needs to be loved, needs to be believed in, trusted,” McClaren said.
“I think Jokanovic, being Serbian, I think they’ve got that connection and once you get the best out of him, he’s not only a good player outside the box, bringing other players into it, he scores goals.”
Mitrovic cited Fulham’s style of play, creating loads of chances, as the reason he is thriving in West London.
That didn’t sit too well with Magpies boss Benitez.