Sessegnon says unity is Ranieri's focus at Fulham
Ryan Sessegnon was the last Fulham player to return from international duty last week and consequently the last one to meet Claudio Ranieri.
As has been proven already in his young career, though, the 18-year-old England U-21 star is a quick learner. On the pitch, he played with a clarity of vision against Southampton and a joy that has been largely absent during his maiden Premier League season.
Off it, he was able to grasp the nuances of the Ranieri touch as soon as he walked back into the club's training ground on Thursday morning. Most of them centred on unity.
"Our body language today was down to everything that the gaffer's done since he's come in. He's changed a lot of things, in terms of we eat together and we leave together now," Sessegnon said after their 3-2 victory over Southampton.
"Before, we used to just come up to the canteen and when you finished, you'd just go. Now you can't leave until everyone's finished. I think it's about keeping that team bonding. The warm-ups we do in training are all together, too."
Anyone who witnessed Fulham mount comeback after comeback in the Championship last season will vouch for the unquenchable team spirit fostered by former manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, but that was with a group of players who had grown together over two seasons.
Sessegnon added: "There are about 12 new players who have come in this season and it was hard for the old gaffer to gel everyone together."
Sessegnon's vision set up Fulham's second goal for Andre Schurrle after Aleksandar Mitrovic had cancelled out Stuart Armstrong's opener for Southampton in a first half full of attacking intent and defensive lapses.
It was Armstrong's turn to equalise for the visitors in the second period, before Sessegnon's flicked header was volleyed home by Mitrovic.
Ranieri was full of praise for his young star's contribution: "Ryan is one of the best young players that I've met. I'm very happy and pleased with his performance." (© Independent News Service)