Fulham sack Jokanovic, appoint Ranieri

Premier League strugglers Fulham have parted ways with manager Slavisa Jokanovic and immediately replaced him with Claudio Ranieri, the club have today announced.

The Cottagers sit bottom of the table with only five points and the 31 goals they have conceded in 12 games is six more than any other side.

Jokanovic had guided Fulham back to the Premier League for the first time since 2014 following an impressive run during the second half of the season, culminating in a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in last season’s Championship playoff final.

His replacement, Ranieri, has been given a “multi-year” contract by the West London club.

Fulham chariman Shahid Khan said:

“Making a change without having the right answer or succession plan was not an option.

“So having someone of Claudio’s calibre ready to accept our challenge was comforting but, most of all, essential.

“Claudio is risk-free and ready-made for the Premier League, and particularly so for what we need at this moment at Fulham.

“His recent body of work with Leicester City is literally legendary, and then you look at Claudio’s experience with Chelsea and big clubs throughout Europe, and it’s pretty evident we are welcoming an extraordinary football man to Fulham Football Club.”

Claudio Ranieri pulled off arguably the biggest shock in Premier League history as he guided 5000/1 outsiders Leicester City to Premier League glory in 2015-16. The Italian was dismissed the following season as they flirted with relegation.

The new Fulham manager has been quoted on the club’s official website as saying:

“It is an honour to accept Mr Khan’s invitation and opportunity to lead Fulham, a fantastic club with tradition and history.

“The objective at Fulham should never be to merely survive in the Premier League. We must at all times be a difficult opponent and should expect to succeed.

“This Fulham squad has exceptional talent that is contrary to its position in the table.”

Interestingly, Slavisa Jokanovic was Claudio Ranieri’s first signing as Chelsea manager back in October 2000. Ranieri guided Chelsea to a second-place finish in 2003-04 before he was dismissed by Roman Abramovich and replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Fulham’s first game under the new manager comes against Southampton at Craven Cottage after the international break, on Saturday 24 November.