Cairney 13, 67, Mitrovic 26, 29
Scott Parker was a happy man after his side rediscovered its cutting edge in an impressive 4-1 drubbing of Reading on Tuesday night.
The Fulham boss has been content with the way his team has bossed most games this season, but he has demanded more ruthlessness in front of goal to reward the dominance.
He got exactly that as two of the architects of Fulham’s promotion charge of two seasons ago were instrumental in securing a second away win of the campaign – skipper Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic both bagging a brace at the Madejski Stadium.
Hapless Reading made it easier for them by getting a man sent off after just 20 minutes. The Whites hogged the ball for 73 per cent of the game and managed 13 shots, seven on target.
“I’ve been delighted with the performances over the past four or five weeks but the results have been missing a little bit,” Parker said.
“That’s what most people usually look at and I understand that. But tonight, I thought that we were first class from start to finish.
“In the first 30 minutes, we were devastating – even though they had a man sent off. I felt that we really stamped our authority on the game and showed our quality.
“We’re going to be a team very hard to deal with in the first 20 or 30 minutes. Even when Reading had 11 men, it was still difficult for them.
“We moved the ball very quickly and with an intensity. And we were really clinical in the final third.
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked a lot on getting that cutting edge about us.”
Cairney followed up his glorious strike in Friday’s 2-0 win over Wigan by opening the scoring on 13 minutes with a typically smart, curling finish from inside the D after Joe Bryan and Stefan Johansen had worked the ball in from the left.
Reading had John Swift sent off for a second yellow after 20 minutes and the Whites soon exploited their numerical advantage, with Mitrovic scoring twice in three minutes.
First, he poked in Anthony Knockaert’s cross from the right from close range, then turned in a Bryan cross to make it 3-0 after 29 minutes.
That made it seven goals for the season for him on the domestic front. The prolific Serbian has also netted three times for his country in European Championship qualifiers against Portugal and Luxemburg.
Cairney’s second came after 68 minutes, the result of another perfectly executed shot – his chip into an unguarded net coming after Reading’s keeper Rafael Cabral had raced to the edge of the area to try and clear another dangerous raid.
Yakou Meite’s 89th minute strike for the Royals was no more than a consolation.
The Whites head into Saturday’s lunchtime derby with Charlton on a run of five undefeated games, and were up to fourth in the Championship on Tuesday night ahead of Wednesday night’s fixtures.
The Addicks have punched above their weight this season, after winning promotion via the play-offs last term. Lee Bowyer’s men find themselves in the upper reaches of the table, and last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Leeds was their fifth in their opening nine matches.
But history is very much on Fulham’s side. They are unbeaten in 10 fixtures between the sides, a run stretching back nearly 15 years, and you have to go back to 1986 to find the last time Charlton won at Craven Cottage.
Fulham: Bettinelli, Odoi, Mawson, Ream, Bryan (Le Marchand 76), Arter, Cairney (Kamara 73), Johansen, Reid, Mitrovic, Knockaert (Onomah 69). Not used: Rodak, Sessegnon, Reed, Cavaleiro.