By 90Min
November 14, 2018

Fulham have appointed former Premier League-winning manager Claudio Ranieri to try and reverse their downwardly spiralling season. Slavisa Jokanovic, who was promoted with Fulham last season from the Championship, has been replaced after leading his side to last place in the league after 12 matches. 

Fulham have had four seasons building in the championship, and it may seem harsh to get rid of the man that bought them back to the Premier League, but that is the modern way. Out with the old, in with the new - even though Ranieri is definitely not a new face to the league. He has an established history of success behind him, but his objective this time round is merely survival.

When Ranieri arrived at Leicester before their dramatic fairytale season, he introduced himself to the players and staff and then sat back and simply observed. Kasper Schmeichel revealed that upon Ranieri's arrival, there was almost a week where the manager said nothing to the players. 

This gave Ranieri the time to understand the club's players, the philosophy, and most importantly show that his arrival to the team was not about him. 

What he does best is adapt. 

Julian Finney/GettyImages

He understands first and foremost that the people already at the club know it's culture best. He will assess the collective and individual strengths and weaknesses in his team and play to them, as opposed to implementing a new style, which will benefit Fulham massively.

A problem unfortunately with adapting a team to a new style of play is that it takes time. Admittedly, Ranieri does not necessarily have the element of time on his side. However, Leicester's own survival story just the season before their historic run to the title can be a lesson for this Fulham side not to panic in the face of adversity early on.

The first problem with Jokanovic's Fulham is that they didn't know their best 11. Jokanovic has fielded 22 different players already this season, the third highest in the league. Ranieri will lead with confidence and put out what he thinks is his best side every single week, persevering with his selections even if people criticise or question him. Such an attitude breeds confidence within the players and it shows the team that their manager believes in them. 

However, insecurity in the team selection is not the what got them to last place. Fulham's biggest problem this season is that they leak goals at the back like an open faucet. Ironically, Ranieri had a similar problem during his tenure at Leicester, and his solution proved to be super simple. He offered his squad a challenge - when the team got their first clean sheet, the whole squad would go out for a pizza. Simple enough.

He thought that his team had the defensive ability, but just needed the belief in themselves. When they got their clean sheet Ranieri took them to make their own pizza, saying afterwards that he believes everything has to be earned with hard work, even the little things, which was a powerful message that reverberated within the squad. He instills the belief within his side, that a collective unit can work on the little things to produce the big end result.

To supplement his firm belief in a collective unit, Ranieri has shown that he doesn't want big ego's in his dressing room. With so many new signings at Fulham this summer, it might just be that some new players are struggling to fit in. It is never a bad thing to have some squad cohesion in the ranks, and Ranieri is certainly the man to gel a team.

Ranieri almost always has a very positive aura. He believes that kindness and empathy work better than punishment to correct behaviour or bad performances. He knows that he can only work with the skills that he has, and cannot change what he can't control. 

As Ranieri has shown in the past, transitioning into a new role isn't just about implementing new rules and strategies, but about checking what you have in the current inventory and working to their collective strengths, not yours. Given some time to analyse the situation, Ranieri will hope to have Fulham firing on all cylinders again.

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