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Fulham are at Burnley tomorrow and that brings their manager Claudio Ranieri back to Turf Moor for the first time in just over two years. He brought his Chelsea team for a pre-season friendly in 2001 but is only competitive game came on transfer deadline day in January two years ago when his Leicester team were beaten 1-0 just three weeks before he was sacked having won the Premier League title in the previous season.

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He’s now in charge of Fulham who are currently bottom of the league having replaced Slavisa Jokanovic in November and ahead of tomorrow’s game he admitted: “It’s another crucial match. I say every time that every match for us is crucial. This week at Burnley is more crucial, as Huddersfield was crucial. We know there will be a very great battle there and I hope we can survive. Burnley think ‘if we kill Fulham, Fulham stay there and we move up’. And for this reason I think it is a very, very crucial match.”

The Italian, currently without his dilly-ding-dilly-dong bell now has a comparison for himself. “I am a mirror,” he said. “What I feel inside is what I show on my face, and I’m positive because I believe in this team and this club.

“I’m not worried about any matches, but I respect all my opponents. We have to be ready. I always am optimistic but I don’t know when we’ll turn the corner, I hope very soon. We have to improve every time. I’m happy with how they train, how they improve, but the answer is on the pitch. All teams train very well.”

Sean Dyche has seen a change in fortune recently with three successive wins, two in the Premier League against West Ham and Huddersfield, followed by the FA Cup win against Barnsley, and he words of praise for the Burnley supporters again when he spoke ahead of the Fulham game.

“I think the fans have been brilliant, through all the challenges of the season, and that just reaffirms the connection,” he said. “They feel good and the players feel good and wins make everyone buzz.

“There’s been a solid feel in the cap anyway, but that’s what you are in the game for because you can’t beat that winning feeling. It’s a marvellous thing to have, especially when you are playing as we have in the last three games with good, solid, effective performances and making lots of chances. We’ve doubled our chance count and scoring goals and keeping it tight at the back is a great mix to have.”

He added: “I’ve felt we’ve been getting there for a while, but we’ve been playing some top sides and those games have been tighter than you think. Individual mistakes have led to games getting away from us, but I knew there would be a time when those individual mistakes would not be made, and then the performance looks much more solid.

“The main thing is the mentality since the blip of the Everton game here, which wasn’t good enough. The reaction to that has been first class, both by the players and the fans and it’s really important that the fans stay with the players, through the ups and the downs. The latter is much harder, but that’s when the power of a club comes through and that has to remain. The players get more freedom to go and play and that builds momentum.”

 

 

 

 

 

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