English Premiership

Ranieri desperate for a 'leader' to rescue ailing Fulham

2019-01-11 12:04
Claudio Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri (AP)

London - Claudio Ranieri says Premier League strugglers Fulham need to sign a "leader" if they are to avoid an immediate return to the second-tier Championship.

The 67-year-old Italian has not engendered a major revival in Fulham's fortunes since he replaced the sacked Slavisa Jokanovic in November.

The London club lie second from bottom, four points adrift of safety, despite having spent more than £100 million ($127 million) in the close season.

Chelsea's veteran former England central defender Gary Cahill has been mentioned as a potential new arrival.

The 33-year-old - who has made only seven appearances this season with just one of those in the Premier League -- would provide the leadership Ranieri desires as well as vital experience for the division's leakiest defence.

"I think we have to sign somebody to survive," said Ranieri. "We have a very good team, but without experience.

"We need somebody who has experience, a leader, with good character, that's his personality, then we can improve our team.

"I need somebody who can help us; I need somebody."

Ranieri, who guided Leicester to their remarkable Premier League title win in 2016 before being fired a few months into the following season, faces a potentially crucial relegation showdown with fifth-from-bottom Burnley on Saturday.

He is not concerned that the players' morale has been dented going into the match despite the shock defeat by fourth-tier Oldham in the FA Cup last weekend.

"I'm positive because I believe in this team and this club," said Ranieri. "But also Burnley think, 'if we kill Fulham we go up'.

"And for this reason, I think it's a very, very crucial match. Believe me, at the moment I never look at the table.

"Because I know where we are, staying under water and I want to go up."

 

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Saturday, 19 January 2019
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City, Molineux Stadium 14:30
Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Anfield 17:00
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion, Old Trafford 17:00
Newcastle United v Cardiff City, St. James' Park 17:00
Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Watford v Burnley, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Chelsea, Emirates Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City, The John Smith's Stadium 15:30
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur, Craven Cottage 18:00
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion, Craven Cottage 21:45
Arsenal v Cardiff City, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United, Molineux Stadium 21:45
Huddersfield Town v Everton, The John Smith's Stadium 21:45
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 22:00
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 22:00
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