Fulham are at the crossroads – Claudio Ranieri needs more than tinkering to ensure Premier League survival

Fulham are at the crossroads – Claudio Ranieri needs more than tinkering to ensure Premier League survival

It all leaves the impression that Fulham are at an ideological crossroads, with Ranieri trying to change the minds of those who bought into Jokanovic’s methods.

“It’s difficult,” Ranieri said. “The more intelligent think, ‘OK, I have to pass forward’.

“[The player] who is not intelligent passes the ball horizontally and we lose the ball and give the counter-attack to them.”

With Cairney and Sessegnon ostracised, the onus has fallen on other players to lead. Aleksandar Mitrovic continues to battle, while Calum Chambers has done well. So many of the summer signings, though, have simply failed to deliver. There has been frustration within the club at some of the more expensive recruits, who have been occasionally untouchable in training but regularly underwhelming in games.

Jean Michael Seri has been excellent in some matches but disappointing in most. Alfie Mawson has struggled to stay fit. And Andre Zambo Anguissa, meanwhile, has been little more than a £30 million irrelevance.

All this is not to say that Fulham have regressed under Ranieri. They have scored more goals and conceded fewer since he arrived. But these are baby steps when Fulham need a giant leap.

At least there have been occasional moments of hope, such as when they smashed four goals past Brighton last month.

That was a performance of flowing football, when Ranieri ditched his five-man defence in favour of a more liberated approach.

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