Fulham boss defends Mitrovic after costly error

[/media-credit] Slavisa Jokanovic is pleased with his side’s form

Slavisa Jokanovic insists Aleksandar Mitrovic has nothing to apologise for after his inexplicable handball cost Fulham two points against Brighton.

In-form striker Mitrovic was under little pressure when he conceded a penalty with six minutes remaining at the Amex Stadium, allowing Glenn Murray to convert and snatch a 2-2 draw for the hosts.

The Serbia international looked to have put the Whites on course for victory on the south coast after his fourth Premier League goal in as many as games added to Andre Schurrle’s opener.

But Brighton, who missed a first-half spot-kick through Pascal Gross, battled back thanks to Murray’s double, which included the late penalty.

“He didn’t need to ask for any apologies. I interpret it as bad luck, a mistake,” Fulham boss Jokanovic said of Mitrovic’s infringement.

[/media-credit] Mitrović scored Fulham’s second goal

“He knows. I don’t need to explain to him that he doesn’t need to touch the ball in this situation.

“At the end, he’s a strong enough lad to keep going, he made one mistake, OK.

“And from another side, he scored the goal, he was fighting really well, he played at the level like he started in the Premier League and I don’t want to complain and point the finger at my player, I cannot find any sense (in doing so).”

Fulham would have been only the fifth team to leave the Amex with three top-flight points.

They looked like joining Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester in that exclusive club when Schurrle finished a superb pass from Jean Michael Seri minutes before the break and Mitrovic dispossessed Lewis Dunk to finish at the second attempt in the 62nd minute.

[/media-credit] Andre Schurrle scored shortly before half-time

They were unable to hold on, though, and veteran striker Murray halved the deficit with a shot which squirmed through the legs of visiting goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, before smashing home his second from the spot.

Jokanovic admitted to having conflicting feelings about letting the two-goal advantage slip.

“We have some mixed sensations. At the end, we must be satisfied after winning our first point away from home in the Premier League,” he added.

“In the first hour, we showed personality, we were solid, we were waiting for our chance and scored the goal, scored the second too.

“At the end, we made some sloppy mistakes and paid an expensive price. Being unsatisfied after winning our first point in the Premier League away from home shows our ambition.”