London - Claudio
Ranieri's brief spell as manager of Premier League strugglers Fulham
ended on Thursday when the Italian was sacked after only four months in
The 67-year-old Italian, who memorably guided Leicester City to the
2016 Premier League title, failed to ignite a Fulham revival after he
replaced the sacked Slavisa Jokanovic in November.
He was in charge for just 16 league games but won only three, and
Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Southampton left them second from bottom, 10
points adrift of safety with 10 matches remaining.
That loss at St Mary's was the final straw as Fulham's travelling fans chanted "you don't know what you're doing" at Ranieri.
Former Chelsea boss Ranieri had been labelled 'risk-free' appointment by Fulham owner Shahid Khan.
But unhappy Fulham supporters unveiled a banner at Southampton that
read: "Risk free? Are you watching Tony Khan?", in a pointed reference
to the Fulham owner's son, who takes a major role in club policy.
"Following our discussion this afternoon, Claudio Ranieri agreed to
my decision that a change was in the best interest of everyone," Shahid
Khan said in a statement.
Khan, whose investment of over £100 million in new players in the
close season after they were promoted to the Premier League has
backfired spectacularly, said Ranieri behaved like a "perfect gentleman"
during the talks.
"Claudio's tenure at Fulham didn't produce the outcome we anticipated
and needed when I appointed him as manager in November, but be assured
he is not solely to blame for the position we are in today," said Khan.
"Claudio walked into a difficult situation, inheriting a side that
gained only one point in its prior eight matches, and he provided an
immediate boost by leading our club to nine points in his first eight
matches as manager.
"Though we were unable to maintain that pace thereafter, I am grateful for his effort."
Ranieri, who was
sacked by Leicester months after their fairytale title success, said he
was sad the good start the club had made under his charge had not been
"I am obviously disappointed with the recent results and that we
could not build on the good start we made following my appointment,"
said Ranieri, who took over at a time when Fulham had secured just one
point from their previous eight matches.
The Cottagers were promoted to the Premier League last season with a
reputation for free-flowing football, but that attacking style was
exposed in the top-flight, with the club's £100 million spree on new
signings failing to deliver the required quality.
Former England midfielder Scott Parker - who ended his playing
career at Fulham - is to be the caretaker manager in one last desperate
throw of the dice from the west Londoners.
"Scott's immediate assignment is merely to help us stabilise, grow and rediscover ourselves as a football club," said Khan.
"If Scott can answer that challenge, and our players respond to the
opportunity, perhaps victories will follow in the months ahead."
Ranieri is the sixth Premier League manager to lose his job this
season and comes just days after Claude Puel was sacked by Leicester -
Jokanovic, Mark Hughes (Southampton), Jose Mourinho (Manchester United)
and David Wagner (Huddersfield) being the other casualties.