Ranieri says Fulham need pace at the back

Claudio Ranieri saw his side beaten again. [Picture: Simon Matthews/PA Wire]

Manager Claudio Ranieri says his team needs to be faster at the back after Fulham’s defence was once again dismantled.

Despite starting brightly and threatening to equalise on multiple occasions, the Whites’ goals-against column for the season reached 47 on New Year’s Day with another heavy defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

“It was a strange, strange match. When you come to Arsenal, you know the quality of the players is different,” said Ranieri, who has never managed a victory over the Gunners in his career.

“I was so pleased with my players because for the first 30 minutes we played so well. We pressed higher, we created two great chances to score, and the Arsenal fans weren’t happy with their team.

“But we made a mistake. The goal came from the heart of the box. We were too wide. In the second half again, we made mistakes, and they scored again.

Aaron Ramsey was among Arsenal’s scorers. [Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire]

“We reopened the match, but then we were tired. The skill of the Arsenal players is amazing and they made more chances. At the end, 4-1, you have to say ‘shut up, well done’ to them.”

But with Fulham remaining in the relegation zone as the January transfer window opens, the Italian is confident that owner Shahid Khan will support his wishes to bolster the back line.

Ranieri added: “I spoke every day with everybody, and if there will be an opportunity for us, I’m sure my chairman will help the club to stay in the Premier League.

“My defence has improved a lot. But when you play against these kinds of players, they are fast, skilful. That’s what we have to improve – being faster than them.”