Claudio Ranieri: Fulham will never give up, says new manager

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Welcome back to the Premier League, Ranieri

Fulham will "never give up" in their fight against relegation from the Premier League this season, says new manager Claudio Ranieri.

The Cottagers sacked Slavisa Jokanovic on Wednesday and immediately appointed Italian Ranieri, who guided Leicester to the title in 2016.

Fulham are bottom of the table having taken just five points from 12 games.

"I hope this season to be safe and then to follow the way of the chairman, to grow upwards," said Ranieri.

Jokanovic, who was appointed in December 2015, led Fulham to promotion via the play-offs last season.

But the Londoners have lost their past six league games and have conceded a league-high 31 goals so far this season.

Ranieri's first game in charge will see Fulham host fellow strugglers Southampton at Craven Cottage on Saturday, 24 November, followed by games against his former clubs Chelsea and Leicester.

The 67-year-old Italian told Fulham's website: "I think Jokanovic was a great player but also as a manager he made a very good start to this career. This season I cannot believe what happened. It is a very good quality team.

"As an Italian manager, for us the defensive way is the best for the team. It is important to have a strong vision of the defence. Not just the full-backs or goalkeeper, all the team.

"For me, the team spirit is important but I know there is a good group. The fighting spirit is very important. We play Southampton and they are a good team with spirit. It is important to be prepared.

"I hope our fans push us and we need their strength. We need their support always. We will never give up."

'What I achieved is the past'

Claudio Ranieri
Ranieri lost just three games with Leicester on the way to winning the title in 2016

Ranieri's Leicester started the 2015-16 season as 5,000-1 outsiders to win the Premier League and were among the favourites for relegation.

The Foxes delivered one the greatest sporting shocks of all time as they clinched the club's first top-flight title, described by many as a "miracle".

But Ranieri was sacked nine months later and spent last season as Nantes manager.

In his first spell in England, he guided Chelsea to second in the Premier League as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

Fulham chairman Shahid Khan said he and his son Tony, the club's vice-chairman and director of football operations, spoke to a number of potential candidates over the past week.

"What I achieved is the past, I always look forward and I want more," said Ranieri. "I hope to make very good job here.

"I felt like coming back to England. Last season I went away abroad to finish my story but my feeling with English football is so high and I wanted to come back. Mr Khan is an ambitious man and I hope to give him what he desires."

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