Saturday 15 December 2018

Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham in-tray

What is waiting for the former Chelsea and Leicester boss when he walks into his new job at Craven Cottage?

Former Chelsea and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was a “ready-made” replacement for the Fulham job. (Jonathan Brady/PA Images)
Former Chelsea and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was a “ready-made” replacement for the Fulham job. (Jonathan Brady/PA Images)

By Press Association Sport staff

Claudio Ranieri is back in the Premier League after being appointed as the new manager of Fulham, replacing Slavisa Jokanovic.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the challenges ahead for the former Chelsea and Leicester boss as he walks into his new job at Craven Cottage.

Get some points on the board – and quickly

It may be stating the obvious, but Jokanovic paid the price for failing to convert promising performances into cold, hard points, with only one victory and two draws from the first 12 Premier League matches. With out-of-form Southampton first up at Craven Cottage following the international break, avoiding a seventh successive league defeat would be a good way for Ranieri to start.

Settle on a number one

Spaniard Sergio Rico found himself between the posts for the final few games of Jokanovic’s reign, with ‘number one’ Marcus Bettinelli left warming the bench. Called up again for the England squad, the 26-year-old will be hoping a change in management could see his recall – and if Ranieri is to move the team forwards, keeping clean sheets will be key.

Get Mitrovic firing again

Aleksandar Mitrovic opened the new season in good form. (John Walton/PA Images)

After impressing during the opening weeks of the new campaign, the last of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s six Premier League goals came at the end of September. The Serbian, though, who made his move from Newcastle permanent in the summer, remains a handful for defenders and securing the right supply line will be crucial.

Live up to your reputation

Fulham chairman Shahid Khan said Ranieri was a “risk-free and ready-made” replacement after handing the “extraordinary football man” a “multi-year” contract. Following some time out after he was sacked by Leicester, Ranieri took charge of French club Nantes in June 2017, but left at the end of the season. The 67-year-old may bring a wealth of Premier League experience, but, should he fail to make an impact, some tough questions will be asked.

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