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Ranieri reveals mum's criticism over dropping Duff

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Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri

Damien Duff

Damien Duff

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Claudio Ranieri

New Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri has revealed his biggest critic is his 99-year-old mother, who would criticise her son for not playing Irish winger Damien Duff enough during his Chelsea reign.

Duff, who signed for Ranieri's Chelsea from Blackburn for £17m in the summer of 2003, became a firm favourite of the Italian's mother, who would scold her son whenever he would rest the Dubliner

Ranieri, who faces Southampton tomorrow in his first game in charge of Fulham, insists that while his spouse does not get involved in his decision-making process, he has had to answer to his mother Renata in the past.

"My mum, when Damien Duff didn't play (at Chelsea), she would say 'why?! Why don't you put Damien Duff on the pitch'," he said yesterday.

"She is 99 years old. She wants to see the games. If Sky don't show Fulham on the television, she will say 'Why?! Tell them!'

"I have to call her because yesterday she called me and I was so busy.

Ranieri intends to "tinker clever" to find a winning formula with the struggling Cottagers. The 67-year-old replaced Slavisa Jokanovic earlier this month, with the Whites struggling at the foot of the Premier League table having lost their last seven games in all competitions.

It is Ranieri's first job in England since his title-winning spell in charge of Leicester ended with the sack in February 2017. During his four years as Chelsea manager, Ranieri earned the moniker "Tinkerman" due to the number of changes he made to his team on a regular basis.

Fulham have yet to name the same defensive unit for any of their 12 games back in the top flight, but Ranieri insists he will be looking to make astute adjustments as he aims to steer the club clear of relegation.

Asked how important it is to have a consistent back-line, he said: "It's important. I am Tinkerman but I tinker clever.

"It's important to maintain the same line-up for some matches but you never know. I want everybody available and then I can choose.

"A long time ago, the journalists call me 'Tinkerman' because I change a lot. But I changed a lot because it was the last year in Chelsea and we brought the players at the start of the season and we continued to buy players.

"Of course, I had to change something. I didn't have a friendly match and then for this reason you say 'oh he changes a lot, changes a lot, changes a lot'. And then it was for this reason, I changed it with intelligence not just to change."


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