Nov 24 (Reuters) - Claudio Ranieri celebrated a winning return to the Premier League as he helped his new Fulham team to move off the foot of the table with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Southampton at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
The Italian manager replaced Slavisa Jokanovic during the international break and weaved his magic straight away as he helped Fulham to end a losing run of seven consecutive defeats and secure their first Premier League victory since August.
Southampton threatened to spoil the party when Stuart Armstrong opened the scoring after 18 minutes, netting his first goal for the club.
Fulham, though, refused to lie down and drew level on 33 minutes when Maxime Le Marchand picked out Aleksandar Mitrovic who directed a header past Alex McCarthy.
The home side clearly had the momentum and made the most of it when they added a second goal just before halftime when Ryan Sessegnon burst clear down the left-hand side and fired over a low cross that was tapped home by Andre Schurrle at the far post.
Southampton were also desperate for the points and were handed a lifeline when Armstrong grabbed his second goal of the game after 53 minutes when he latched on to a back-heel from Cedric Soares and struck an impressive shot into the top corner.
Mitrovic, though, make it a dream return for Ranieri when he scored the winner for Fulham, and his second of the game, after 63 minutes. Sessegnon turned provider once again and flicked the ball in to the Serbian forward who produced an acrobatic volley and saw his shot fly past McCarthy into the corner of the net.
Reporting by Marc Isaacs; editing by Clare Fallon