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Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will not need the added motivation of playing against old club Newcastle United to get fired up when the two sides meet in the Premier League this weekend, according to Cottagers boss Marco Silva.
The Serbia international netted his 50th goal for his country while on international duty over the past fortnight and returns to Craven Cottage in rich form to back up a healthy start to the season from the newly promoted outfit.
A chance to square off against the Magpies, his former side, might have given him added impetus too, but Silva is adamant the attacker needs no extra fuel to make his passion burn brighter.
"He doesn't need to play against Newcastle to be motivated," he added. "Mitrovic is always full of motivation to play with a Fulham shirt or with his national team.
"That is the motivation for him: to play football matches, to be involved with his team-mates, to keep playing, with his connection with me and my staff as well. When he is on the pitch, he is always doing something to help the team to win football matches."
Opposite number Eddie Howe has meanwhile rubbished links to him succeeding Gareth Southgate in charge of the England national team.
The Three Lions boss is under fire after a tough year, and regardless of results at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, could well walk from the top job despite his contract running through Euro 2024.
Howe would not rule himself out of the role down the line, but says his focus is firmly on Newcastle when asked about the speculation at Newcastle's pre-match news conference on Friday,
"Gareth has done an incredible job, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart," the 44-year-old Howe said. "I never say never - never say. But in the short term, it is not on my radar at all."
Fulham – Willian
The Brazilian has been directly involved in three goals, scoring two, in his last three Premier League home starts against Newcastle. They were all with Chelsea, of course – but could some of that history rub off for the Cottagers?
Newcastle – Callum Wilson
The England international. has scored three goals in three Premier League appearances against Fulham (two for Bournemouth, one for Newcastle), netting once every 90 minutes. It's an omen that bodes well.
- Fulham have won 12 of their 28 Premier League games against Newcastle (D5 L11) – against no side have they won more in the competition (also 12 against Bolton).
- Newcastle have won their last two away league games against Fulham, this following a run of six straight defeats at Craven Cottage – they've never won three away league games in a row against them before.
- Fulham have won their last two Premier League home games, as many as they had in their previous 21 at Craven Cottage. They last won three in a row at home in the top-flight between April and September 2012 (a run of four), while they last did so within the same season in April 2011.
- Newcastle are winless in six Premier League games (D5 L1) since their 2-0 victory in their opening match this season against Nottingham Forest. It's their longest run without a win since November 2021 (14 games), a run which included Howe's first three games in charge (D2 L1).
- Fulham have won three of their last five Premier League games (L2), as many victories as they gained in their previous 30 matches in the competition combined (D14 L13). The Cottagers could win as many as four of their opening eight games to a Premier League season for the first time since 2012-13 – their last top-flight campaign in which they weren't relegated, finishing in 12th place.
Updated September 30, 2022