Ranieri accuses players of lacking desire

Claudio Ranieri criticised his players. [Picture: Simon Matthews/PA Wire]

Manager Claudio Ranieri questioned his side’s desire after Fulham’s shock FA Cup third-round defeat at home against Oldham.

The Whites hit the target with only two of their 20 shots – one of which was a saved Aleksandar Mitrović penalty late on with the score level – against the League Two side, and Ranieri was left ruing Fulham’s apathy rather than their profligacy in front of goal.

“I didn’t see the desire. I didn’t see the passion that I saw in the Oldham players,” he said of his players.

“We’re disappointed. The first half was so boring for us. We didn’t play as we are used to playing.

“In the second half, we improved a little, we scored a goal and had chances to score a second time.

“But Oldham won the match. I can only say well done to Oldham.”

Ranieri made six changes to the team that lost at Arsenal on New Year’s Day, handing rare starts to the likes of Neeskens Kebano, Floyd Ayité and Luciano Vietto.

But all three spurned good chances to see the game off for the Whites, most of all when Kebano was through on goal but placed his effort wide of the mark.

“The back four were the same, but in the middle and the strikers have not been involved so much,” Ranieri added.

“The combinations were much better in the second half, but I wanted to see the desire, the opportunity to show if I am wrong [to leave them out of the regular starting eleven]. But they didn’t understand this.

“I know there were a lot of players newly playing together, and that is difficult for them, but the desire to do something is important.

“I wanted more from my players. If you lose but give 100 per cent of your personality, your desire, your passion, I can accept it. But we didn’t play with the passion.

“We need the fire, the passion, the blood. We need everything, if we want to be safe. This is the real problem.”