New Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri intends to “tinker clever” to find a winning formula – and revealed the first person he needs to earn approval from is his mother.
The 67-year-old replaced Slavisa Jokanovic earlier this month, with the Whites struggling at the foot of the Premier League table having lost their last seven games in all competitions.
It is Ranieri’s first job in England since his title-winning spell in charge of Leicester ended with the sack in February 2017.
During his four years as Chelsea manager, Ranieri earned the moniker “Tinkerman” due to the number of changes he made to his team on a regular basis.
Fulham have yet to name the same defensive unit for any of their 12 games back in the top flight, but Ranieri insists he will be looking to make astute adjustments as he aims to steer the club clear of relegation.
Asked how important it is to have a consistent back-line, he said: “It’s important. I am Tinkerman but I tinker clever.
“It’s important to maintain the same line-up for some matches but you never know. I want everybody available and then I can choose.
“A long time ago, the journalists call me ‘Tinkerman’ because I change a lot. But I changed a lot because it was the last year in Chelsea and we brought the players at the start of the season and we continued to buy players.
“Of course, I had to change something. I didn’t have a friendly match and then for this reason you say ‘oh he changes a lot, changes a lot, changes a lot’. And then it was for this reason, I changed it with intelligence not just to change.”
While Ranieri has called for Fulham fans to give him time to address the slide, he knows he has one person who will cut him little slack.
The Italian revealed he will pick his team to face fellow-strugglers Southampton while watching television with his wife on Friday evening.
Ranieri insists that while his spouse does not get involved in his decision-making process, he has had to answer to his mother – 99-year-old Renata – in the past.
“My mum, when Damien Duff didn’t play (at Chelsea), she would say ‘why?! Why don’t you put Damien Duff on the pitch’,” he added.
“She is 99 years old. She wants to see the games. If Sky don’t show Fulham on the television, she will say ‘Why?! Tell them!’
“I have to call her because yesterday she called me and I was so busy.
“This week I work hard and they (the players) follow me very well but it’s not possible in very few days to arrange everything. It’s important to play, play, play and never give up.
“I hope to maintain the clean sheet and then if we can score, it’s much better. It’s crucial on Saturday for us and Southampton.”