Summer signings pay off for Fulham in 4-2 win vs Burnley
LONDON (AP) — When Jean Michael Seri spectacularly fired in his first Premier League goal for Fulham, he surprised more than just the fans watching at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
“He surprised all of us,” said Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic after his reported 25 million pound ($32 million) signing struck after only four minutes in a 4-2 win against Burnley. “We expected he would make some assists but not score such a fantastic goal.”
The long-range effort from outside the area left Burnley goalkeeper Joe Hart clutching at thin air and triggered a breathless first half. Jeff Hendrick hit back for the visitors before a double from Aleksandar Mitrovic and a tap-in for James Tarkowski made it 3-2 to Fulham at the break.
But it was Seri who stole the show, winning the ball back in midfield, dropping deep to pick up possession and controlling the tempo of the game.
“He is well suited to our style,” said Jokanovic. “He has interpreted how we want to play football, and he is one of the guys who is really comfortable in possession of the ball.
“With him we want to attack in behind the defense, we don’t only want to play inbetween the lines, but sometimes attack the defenders, and he is the guy who can deliver those passes.”
Seri was ably assisted by a front three of fellow signings. Mitrovic, who was on loan at the club last season but only joined permanently in the transfer window, worked relentlessly up front and earned his goals. Luciano Vietto impressed in his first start for the club and another loan signing, Andre Schuerrle, sealed the win late on.
Fulham has invested heavily in its playing squad, only to start without a point from two games before its first league win on Sunday.
After Seri and Hendrick had scored inside the opening 10 minutes, it was Mitrovic who turned the game with two quick goals. First, he headed in from close range in the 36th after a clever corner-kick routine, and then converted a deft chip from Vietto, a loan signing from Atletico Madrid, in the 38th. The double took Mitrovic’s tally for the season to three as he begins to justify a reported fee of $28.9 million.
Fulham was comfortable with a two-goal lead only for four minutes, however. From a corner Ben Mee rose highest to head into the path of his central defensive partner Tarkowski, who tapped in for his second goal of the season.
But the second-half onslaught never came and Fulham created all the best chances after the break, finally sealing the win when Schuerrle fired home following a fine Hart save to deny Mitrovic his hat trick.
It was a triumph for Fulham’s much-debated transfer policy, and even Burnley boss Sean Dyche was impressed.
“If you question how they’ve spent 100 million pounds, and what’s come with it, and how it works, I thought that was a pretty good example today,” he said.
Burnley remains without a league win after three games.