Monday, January 21, 2019

I killed him, but softly! Ranieri holds no grudge against Kamara

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Jan 2019

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Claudio Ranieri has no issue with Aboubakar Kamara after the Fulham forward apologised for defying orders with his missed penalty against Huddersfield Town.

Aleksandar Mitrovic was assigned spot-kick duties by his manager but Kamara took matters into his own hands on Saturday at Craven Cottage, dismissing the Serbia international to have a go himself from 12 yards.

The French forward’s effort was saved by Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl and while Mitrovic spared his team-mate’s blushes with a late winner, Ranieri said in his post-match interview he wanted to “kill” the player for going against his instructions.

However, the experienced Italian manager was able to joke about his previous comments following the 4-1 loss to Arsenal on New Year’s Day, with Kamara scoring Fulham’s goal after coming on as a second-half substitute.

“For me it’s finished. I hold no grudge,” Ranieri told the media at Emirates Stadium. “I killed him, but softly!”

Addressing the matter more seriously, he added: “He apologised immediately, to me, his team-mates and the club. It’s finished there. 

“I need all my players. I kill [them], but after I give the oxygen to them.”

Fulham were unable to spring a surprise against the Gunners at the end of a busy festive period, though Ranieri was still pleased with the performance.

Ryan Sessegnon failed to take two excellent opportunities with the score still at 0-0, while Kamara’s tap-in finish made it 2-1 with just over 20 minutes remaining.

However, late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the hosts out of sight, leaving Fulham stuck in 19th place in the table.

“It was a strange match. When you come to Arsenal you know the quality of the players is different, because we are in the relegation zone and they are in a position higher up [the table],” Ranieri said.

“But I was so pleased with my players. For the first 30 minutes we played so well, pressed higher and created two great chances. 

“The Arsenal fans were not happy with their team. But, when they created the first chance, we made a mistake because it came through the heart of the box and we were too wide. 

“In the second half, again, we made mistakes and they scored. We re-opened the match at 2-1, and we created another two chances to draw level, but after we were tired and the skill of the Arsenal players is amazing. 

“At the end, 4-1, you have to shut up and say well done to them.”

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