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Claudio’s firsts: Ranieri’s significant managerial debuts

Claudio Ranieri takes charge of Fulham for the first time on Saturday, against Southampton.

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

Here, Press Association Sport looks at significant first games for the charismatic Italian, whose next Fulham games are against former clubs Chelsea (December 2) and Leicester (December 5).

Tinkerman arrives

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

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.

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

Greek tragedy

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Claudio Ranieri endured a difficult, and short, spell as Greece boss (Adam Davy/PA Images)

Greece 0 Romania 1, September 7, 2014, Piraeus

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).

Former Valencia, Juventus and Monaco boss 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 three games: Romania (H) L 1-0, Finland (A) D 1-1, Northern Ireland (H) L 2-0.

Flourishing Foxes

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Claudio Ranieri enjoyed a memorable spell as Leicester boss (Paul Harding/PA Images)

Leicester 4 Sunderland 2, August 8, 2015, Leicester
Kasper Schmeichel; Ritchie De Laet, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Jeffrey Schlupp; Marc Albrighton, Andy King, Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez; Shinji Okazaki, Jamie Vardy.

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

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