What Claudio Ranieri must do to keep Fulham up

Having climbed to the very top with Leicester, Claudio Ranieri will return at the bottom of the Premier League with Fulham.

The challenge is clear: the popular attacking principles are embedded by Slavisa Jokanovic during their promotion campaign.

Then, next season, improve.

At 67, Ranieri will need all of his experience to pull this off and he will need to start at the back.

Claudio Ranieri has replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as Fulham try to stay in the Premier League

Claudio Ranieri has replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as Fulham try to stay in the Premier League

Claudio Ranieri has replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as Fulham try to stay in the Premier League

Sort the worst defense in the Premier League out

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Fulham have been brutally exposed in defense.

In the Championship they were capable of overpower teams especially when they added the aerial presence of Aleksandar Mitrovic to the pace and skill of Ryan Sessesgnon and the midfield vision of Tom Cairney.

In the Premier League, stronger teams have found it easier to keep them out and punish them on the break. It is a ruthless league.

In their first 12 games, Fulham have conceded 31 goals and have a goal difference of minus 20, which will prove problematic in what is shaping up to be a tight relegation contest.

Jokanovic, it was said, devoted much of his time on the training pitch to work on tactics and possession. Ranieri is sure to start by focusing more acutely on tightening up and stop conceding goals.

Decide on his first-choice goalkeeper and stick with him

Fulham signed two new keepers in the summer and with Marcus Bettinelli also at the club. Fabri started the season but has not done since August.

Goalkeeping coach Sambede Carreira, who was thought to have recommended signing Fabri from Besiktas for £ 5million, left soon afterwards.

The Cottagers have conceded 31 goals in 12 games - comfortably the worst in the league

The Cottagers have conceded 31 goals in 12 games - comfortably the worst in the league

The Cottagers have conceded 31 goals in 12 games – comfortably the worst in the league

Sergio Rico (pictured), Fabri and Marcus Bettinelli have all started games in goal this season

Sergio Rico (pictured), Fabri and Marcus Bettinelli have all started games in goal this season

Sergio Rico (pictured), Fabri and Marcus Bettinelli have all started games in goal this season

Bettinelli was restored to the side. At Liverpool, on Sunday, Sergio Rico, who is on loan from Sevilla, was in goal.

Ranieri must tackle the uncertainty and identify his goalkeeper. If the defense is to improve, they will require a solid understanding with the man in goal.

Find a way to get Mitrovic firing like he did at the start

Aleksandar Mitrovic last scored in September

Aleksandar Mitrovic last scored in September

Aleksandar Mitrovic last scored in September

When Jokanovic tried to arrest the slide by tightening up at the back he surrendered power going forward. Fulham has lost the threat of Mitrovic.

The Serb was a sensation last season on loan from Newcastle and fans were thrilled when the club made the transfer permanent. He scored five in his first six of this season but has not found the net for his club since September.

As they discovered at Newcastle, he is not the same striker without plenty of support around him and good delivery into the box. He can not cover the ground and operate successfully in isolation.

Can Ranieri get Mitrovic firing again? Can he protect a vulnerable defense and still find a way to score goals?

It will help to have Cairney fit again. Ultimately it is the key for all managers at the bottom of the Premier League.

Give Ryan Sessegnon a set position so he can thrive

From their very fine academy, Fulham has nurtured one of the hottest properties in English football. Sessegnon, however, has found it hard to adjust to his first season in the Premier League.

The Championship, who is in the same position as Gareth Bale, was able to destroy teams by attacking them from deep with his raw pace.

Jokanovic was concerned the teenager was vulnerable defensively as he played against better teams but did not want to lose his attributes. So Fulham signed alternatives at left-back and moved Sessegnon further forward.

Ryan Sessegnon has been shunted around the Fulham side and needs a set position

Ryan Sessegnon has been shunted around the Fulham side and needs a set position

Ryan Sessegnon has been shunted around the Fulham side and needs a set position

It seemed like a sensible ploy. But, this season, he has been deployed as a wing-back, an orthodox left winger and as a wide striker. He has been rested. He has scored only once.

Sessegnon is only 18 and there needs no panic about his development but Ranieri must identify his best position and help him in the high-pressure environment of the Premier League.

Get used to Fulham's peculiar method of recruitment

FULHAM'S NEXT FIVE FIXTURES

November 24: Southampton (h)

December 2: Chelsea (a)

December 5: Leicester (h)

December 8: Manchester United (a)

December 15: West Ham (h)

Ranieri's wealth of experience and background in the political minefield of Italian football will have prepared him well for the peculiarities of Fulham. Under chairman Shahid Khan and his son Tony, the vice-chairman and director of operations, who has a system of recruitment which leans heavily on data.

It has been revised to ensure it also accommodates the views of the football experts, including the manager. Jokanovic certainly had an influence on the summer spree, but was not at all interested in a recruitment policy.

Ranieri understands the need for diplomacy when it comes to relationships with the board and the executive of modern football clubs.

He hopes to find a way to make this work his favorite, Jokanovic did not because he wants to add quality in certain areas of the squad, especially in defensive areas.

Make the players believe that they are good enough

True, Fulham spent big in the summer with more than £ 100m or new signings.

Maybe too many.

They brought in 12 players, many of them more money than those who have gone there and disrupted the good things. The team solves its understanding and then resolves its forward momentum. Uncertainty has set in.

Confidence vanished. Ranieri must restore unity. It is one of his strengths.

Dilly thing, dilly dong as they say in Leicester.