Friday, April 19, 2019

Under-pressure Ranieri unsure over Fulham future

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Feb 2019

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Claudio Ranieri admitted to not knowing whether his job is safe after a 2-0 loss at relegation rivals Southampton pushed Fulham deeper into trouble. 

First-half goals from Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse lifted the hosts out of the bottom three as they opened up a 10-point cushion over their 19th-placed opponents. 

The experienced Ranieri has failed to turn things around since inheriting the job from Slavisa Jokanovic and the travelling Fulham fans protested his position with chants and banners at St Mary’s on Wednesday. 

The Italian has expressed an interest in working in the Championship but four successive losses in February have cast doubt over whether he will be retained. 

“My job? I don’t know, ask the owner,” Ranieri responded when quizzed in his post-match news conference. 

The Italian said he had not met with owner Tony Khan but indicated talks could take place this week. 

Fulham matched Southampton for shots – and had more possession on the south coast – but were second best in both boxes in what was billed as a relegation six-pointer. 

Ranieri expressed disbelief over a perceived sense of misfortune running against his team.

“It’s very disappointing because every time the opponents shoot at goal, they score. It’s unbelievable. This season many times it has happened,” he said.

“Tonight, they first shoot at goal and score and I think when this happens the confidence goes down. We try to do our best but that’s it, the maximum my players can do.”

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, was able to toast a potentially pivotal result in the fight to avoid the drop.

“Together we have had a fantastic evening,” the Austrian told the club’s website. “We need a few [points] more until the end. If we have them, it’s a good chance to stay [in the Premier League].

“It was very professional from our team today. We put a little bit more experience on the pitch – it was clear [Fulham] were coming here looking at their last chance to come closer to us.

“Although they had more ball possession, I think we defended it very, very concentrated, and it was a clinical, professional performance.

“I think they saw a team that knows how important it was to give everything for Southampton Football Club.”

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