Ranieri praises Fulham players after derby defeat

Claudio Ranieri returned to Stamford Bridge. [Picture: Simon Matthews/PA Wire]

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri admired his side’s response after conceding another early goal.

Despite the 2-0 defeat against Chelsea on his return to Stamford Bridge, with goals from Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek keeping the Whites at the foot of the table, the former Blues boss was pleased with the way in which his players stuck to his instructions.

“It was a good match,” Ranieri said. “At the beginning, we gave them a good present when we lost the ball and they scored on the counter-attack.

“But afterwards, we reacted very well. I told my players before the match that we can win or we can lose, but [that] I want to see us play with our philosophy.

“It’s strange to say, but I think we played much better today than in the Southampton match. We have to continue in this way. My players must understand my philosophy better, because I play very, very fast.

“I am satisfied – not with the result, of course – but with how we reacted and played. Of course, we have to improve,” he added, with the scoreline meaning that Fulham have conceded multiple goals in 12 of their 15 league matches so far this season.

Although Ranieri’s choice of a midfield diamond – much like the one deployed to great effect by Mauricio Pochettino in Spurs’ victory over Chelsea last week – failed to create opportunities in the first half, a shift to a 4-4-1-1 formation after the break gave the team much more of a threat going forwards.

He said: “We didn’t make enough [chances] in the first half, but it was much better in the second half. With the two wingers [Floyd Ayité and Aboubakar Kamara], we created some problems for them and had good chances to draw the match. At the end, they scored the second goal.

“It was difficult to play under pressure against Chelsea. We were prepared for it, but now we think about the next match.”