RAFAEL BENITEZ has been told that Aleksandar Mitrovic should still be playing in the Premier League after the striker delivered another reminder of his attacking quality in the Championship promotion race.

Mitrovic scored two more goals on Tuesday night against Sheffield United to take his tally to five in his last four matches after moving from St James’ Park on deadline day.

Benitez was keen to offload him to give him some first team football after clearly deciding over the last 18 months that he did not form part of his plans.

But Mitrovic is showing – at a time when Newcastle are short of attacking options because of Islam Slimani’s ongoing injury troubles - that he still has the ability to become a success story.

And after his brace at Craven Cottage defeated Sheffield United to further enhance Fulham’s promotion hopes, as they close the gap on second placed Cardiff, support for his services and what he offers is growing.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is stunned Mitrovic has dropped down to the Championship as he looks to end the season on a high ahead of appearing in Russia this summer with Serbia.

Wilder said: “He shouldn’t be playing in the division. Mitrovic is an outstanding player, he is going to the World Cup and he should be playing in the Premier League.”

Fulham will attempt to secure Mitrovic’s services on a permanent basis in the summer and their chances will be strengthened if they can pull of their promotion bid.

The chances of that happening have increased since the 22-year-old’s arrival because his compatriot and manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, had been searching for the new forward to suit his side’s style of play. He feels he has got that man.

Jokanovic said: “He's a quality player, he showed well with us and at the end he's a proper striker, what we were looking for a long period. At the end, he scored two goals, he made a great job for us, he protected and held many balls and working well in around the goal.

“We have one weapon more in offensive set pieces, and from another side he can help us in the defensive set pieces too.

“At the end, what I said before, he's a great signing for us and he started well, now he has adapted himself and I believe he is enjoying the rest of the team and we expect he can be better in the games ahead of us.”

Middlesbrough and Anderlecht were left frustrated on deadline day when he joined Fulham instead, while Newcastle are looking for the goals from elsewhere to keep them in the top-flight.

The Magpies head into this Saturday’s relegation tussle with Southampton on Tyneside knowing they need to start delivering points again, particularly wins.

Despite losing just three of their last eight games building up to this weekend, the fact is that Benitez has only overseen one victory during that run and that can’t continue if they are to stay out of the bottom three.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, knowing the Saints visit is followed after a break by a game with Huddersfield on March 31, said: "We need to find positive things.

“Of course, we lost, and we're not happy. We will only be happy if we take points. We need to look to the future and fight for every point. We are not in a good situation now, and we need to fight for it.

"These two games will be very important for us. We have to be focused and we really hope we can take three points, especially at home.

"We have time now to analyse the things we did well and what we did badly. We will prepare for the next game, and of course it will be a long time before we play the next game.

“We need to stay focused, and of course we have to look at a positive way. I'm very happy that I can be here and I will be happier when we take more points.”