Claudio’s starts – a look back at three of Ranieri’s previous first matches

Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri is back in west London [Picture: Simon Matthews/PA Wire]

Claudio Ranieri begins his 18th managerial appointment when Fulham host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Here’s look back at significant first games for the charismatic Italian, whose next Fulham matches are against former clubs Chelsea (December 2) and Leicester (December 5).

Tinkerman arrives

Manchester United 3 Chelsea 3, September 23, 2000, Old Trafford

Chelsea had won only their first of their opening six games, with Ranieri replacing compatriot Gianluca Vialli as boss. Ranieri, who spoke broken English, swiftly earned the moniker ‘Tinkerman’ for rotating his players, while he knew his future was bleak when Roman Abramovich took over as owner in June 2003. The Italian lasted one more season before Jose Mourinho was appointed.

First Chelsea team: Carlo Cudicini; Christian Panucci, Marcel Desailly, Frank Leboef, Graeme Le Saux; Jody Morris, Roberto Di Matteo, Gianfranco Zola, Jon Harley; Tore Andre Flo, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

First three games: Manchester United (A) D 3-3, St Gallen (A) L 2-0, Liverpool (H) W 3-0.

Greek tragedy

Greece 0 Romania 1, September 7, 2014, Piraeus

Ranieri was in charge of Greece for four games. In his only national-team appointment, he was tasked with guiding the Euro 2004 winners to the 2016 European Championships, but failed spectacularly. The home loss to Romania was followed by the only goal and point in a draw in Finland. Further home defeats to Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands were the final straw.

First Greece team: Orestis Karnezis (Udinese); Vasilis Torosidis (Roma), Kostas Manolas (Roma), Sokartis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Jose Holebas (Roma); Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Genoa), Andreas Samaris (Benfica), Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Petros Mantalos (AEK Athens); Georgios Samaras (West Brom), Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham).

First three games: Romania (H) L 1-0, Finland (A) D 1-1, Northern Ireland (H) L 2-0.

Flourishing Foxes

Leicester 4 Sunderland 2, August 8, 2015, Leicester

Leicester won four and drew four of their opening nine games, but Ranieri was keen for a clean sheet and rewarded the players for a 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace with pizza. The Foxes continued on an upward trajectory thereafter and, with the established top order struggling for consistency, it was the 5,000-1 outsiders who won the Premier League title. He was sacked nine months later.

First Leicester team: Kasper Schmeichel; Ritchie De Laet, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Jeffrey Schlupp; Marc Albrighton, Andy King, Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez; Shinji Okazaki, Jamie Vardy.

First three games: Sunderland (H) W 4-2, West Ham (A) W 2-1, Tottenham (H) D 1-1.