Claudio Ranieri said Friday that he was confident that he can drag rock bottom Fulham out of relegation danger after taking over at the newly – promoted Premier League side this week .Ranieri , the manager behind Leicester ’ s incredible 2016 league title win, took over from sacked Slavisa Jokanovic on Wednesday after his Serb predecessor only managed one win in 12 matches in his debut season as a coach in England ’ s top flight .
Fulham have lost nine times on their way to gaining just five points , but Ranieri believes there is still hope for a team bolstered with around 100 million euros ( $ 114 million ) of summer signings after winning promotion from the Championship last season .
“ When I watched some matches I said this team has enough quality to be safe … I need fighting spirit , ” said Ranieri to reporters on Friday.
The Italian wants to combine that talent — owner Shahid Khan splashed out on Jean Michael Seri , Andre Schuerrle , Aleksandar Mitrovic and Alfie Mawson — with the grit that saw his Leicester team overcome all the odds two years ago .
“ Quality with fighting spirit we can do a good job . If there is only quality , without organisation , defensive tactics , it ’ s difficult to help the players to maintain the clean sheet , ” added Ranieri .
“ Now for me it ’ s important to put in the brain of my players this philosophy. Play football , play well , but when you lose the ball I want to see you with an anchor , like pirates . ”
– McDonald ’ s replacing pizza –
Ranieri returns to England as a coach for the first time since being sacked by Leicester in February 2017 after a disastrous title defence .
He was in Leicester last weekend to pay his respects to Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and the four others killed in a helicopter crash last month .
However Ranieri played down suggestions of creating another miracle by winning the title with Fulham .
“ Forget what happened yesterday , that was a bonus . A fairytale I forget , ” the 67 -year – old said of his and Leicester ’ s first ever league title win .
“ Now it ’ s important , don’ t think about the miracle . It ’ s important there will be a lot of battles and it ’ s important to be ready together. ”
Asked whether he would reward his Fulham players with pizza when they kept clean sheets like he did at Leicester , Ranieri joked : “ Pizza is not enough now . Better everybody to McDonald ’ s . ”
He will face two of his former clubs in his first three games , with the December 2 trip to Chelsea followed by what will be an emotional return to Leicester three days later .
He said : “ I think only of Southampton . In this moment it ’ s important . Don ’ t think about other things , Southampton , Southampton . And then after Southampton , Chelsea . ”
( AFP )
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