Premier League: Ranieri replaces Jokanovic at Fulham - how fans and media react
Bottom of the league Cottagers sack Jokanovic after just one win in 12 games
Premier League strugglers Fulham have sacked Slavisa Jokanovic and named Claudio Ranieri as their new manager.
The west London club are bottom of the Premier League table with just one victory from their 12 matches this season.
After winning promotion last season via the Championship play-offs, Jokanovic spent close to £100m on 12 new players this summer. But a return of just five league points has seen the Serbian given the axe.
Ranieri, who led Leicester City to their memorable Premier League title win in 2016, says it’s an honour to be Fulham’s new manager.
The Italian said: “The objective at Fulham should never be to merely survive in the Premier League. We must at all times be a difficult opponent and should expect to succeed. This Fulham squad has exceptional talent that is contrary to its position in the table. I know this team is very capable of better performances.”
The 67-year-old has signed a “multi-year” contract, the BBC reports. His first match in charge will be at home against Southampton at Craven Cottage on Saturday 24 November.
Fulham chairman Shahid Khan said the decision to fire Jokanovic was tough but right. Khan said: “I wasn’t anticipating having to make this announcement related to Slavisa and wish the circumstances were such that I didn’t have to, but our path this season has led me to make what I know is the correct decision... for our players, the club and our supporters.
“Slavisa will always have my appreciation and respect for everything he did to return Fulham to top-flight football. I am hoping everyone in the Fulham family shares my heartfelt sentiments for Slavisa and joins me in wishing him success and good fortune, wherever his next stop may be.”
Wenger rejects Fulham
The Daily Telegraph reports that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has turned down the chance to take over at Fulham.
The club has confirmed that a number of candidates were spoken to about the role, including Wenger. The Frenchman, however, “politely declined the opportunity to speak to Fulham”, the Telegraph says.
What the media are saying about Jokanovic’s sacking
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport: “Fulham’s owner Shahid Khan delivered combative public support for manager Slavisa Jokanovic in his programme notes for the home game against Bournemouth less than three weeks ago, telling fans ‘don’t believe anything’ in reports he faced the sack. Times change. Quickly. Fulham were beaten 3-0 by The Cherries, then lost at fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town, and Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool was the last straw. The man who guided The Cottagers to promotion was gone.”
Jason Burt, The Daily Telegraph: “Jokanovic undoubtedly made mistakes. His tactics have been naive. Fulham conceded heavily in the Championship but that was overcome with their attacking, goal-scoring football. In the Premier League their approach was too open and that rarely works in a league where better quality teams do not give up chances and punish mistakes.”
Media reactions to Ranieri’s appointment
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport: “It is welcome back to the Premier League for ever-popular Claudio Ranieri, whose title-winning deeds at Leicester City will be remembered forever. This time he must work fast to turn a serious situation around with his brand of personal charm but more importantly his tactical acumen, starting with shoring up that porous defence. It will be no easy task for ‘The Tinkerman’.”
Mark Schwarzer, former Fulham and Leicester goalkeeper, speaking to Sky Sports: “You could just sense that there have been so many changes within the formation and the team this season and you could tell that the manager was kind of getting in a muddle about what he was doing. I think the tactics and the personnel were so muddled up, he just didn’t know what was going on and you could see from his face and from reports around the training ground that the feeling was all doom and gloom. So they’ve got someone in now in Claudio Ranieri, who’s been sitting there sort of ready and able, who’s going to come in and put a smile on a few faces.”
What Fulham fans are saying
Tom Greatrex, chair of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust: “The Fulham Supporters’ Trust are disappointed to see Slavisa Jokanovic leave the club, and want to put on record the thanks and appreciation of Fulham fans for the achievements under his close to three years as manager. Earlier this week, the club stated their wish to see him succeed, and it will continue to be a matter of debate whether this dismissal has come too early.”