(Reuters) - Claudio Ranieri was full of praise for his match-winner Aleksandar Mitrovic after the Serbian striker’s two goals in a 3-2 win over Southampton gave the Italian the perfect start to his new managerial reign at Fulham on Saturday.
“I feel good. It was important to come back and come back with a victory. It is a little step but important for the enthusiasm and everything.” Ranieri told the BBC after a win which took Fulham off the bottom of the Premier League.
“For me, Mitrovic is one of the best goalscorers in Europe. He can do everything in his career.”
Hoping to work the same sort of wonders at the London club that he did when masterminding Leicester City’s Premier League triumph, Ranieri reckoned he was delighted with this first step.
“It is important to continue in this way. Now we have to forget what we did and improve,” he said. “Next is Chelsea and it is important to maintain ambition and mentality.
“I am confident with my team. I asked them to make a lot of crosses for Mitrovic because he is amazing in the box. We made some good things but we have to work hard to improve on defence. We will be happy when we get clean sheets.”
Southampton manager Mark Hughes, though, will come under pressure once again following this latest setback and must have major concerns over his team, who have recorded just one Premier League win this season.
“We have had similar stories in other games we have played,” he said.
“We scored a good goal and then all of a sudden we find ourselves behind in a game we dominated. The two goals are poor from our point of view. We talk about fundamentals until we are blue in the face.
“We allowed Mitrovic too much space on two occasions. We are not allowing ourselves to benefit from our good play. Sometimes you just need to put your foot through it.
“We have got to create more clear-cut chances. We get plenty of shots off as an away team but we need to make sure we pick our moments. We are not quite converting enough.”
Writing by Marc Isaacs; Editing by Ian Chadband