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Forget the past! Ranieri urges Fulham players to start afresh

New Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri has told his players to "forget the past" as they aim to overcome a dismal start to the Premier League season.

The Cottagers sit bottom of the table with just five points from their first 12 matches, a paltry return that led to Ranieri replacing Slavisa Jokanovic during the final international window of 2018.

Ahead of his first game in charge against fellow strugglers Southampton, the Italian made it clear he is confident of avoiding relegation.

Asked what a win over the Saints would do for Fulham, Ranieri told a news conference: "Clean everything and restart. Today, I said this - restart every time. Forget the past.

"My message is the team is a good one, but now we must show fighting spirit. It's not easy to change direction but it's important all together that we must do our best and be with good spirit and very attentive tactically.

"It's not possible to change everything in one night. It's important to get points but it's important to maintain our mentality, never, never give up - not in the match or the season.

"At the end, we will be safe, I am sure."

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Ranieri became known as 'the Tinkerman' earlier in his career, but the 67-year-old insists he will "tinker clever" when it comes to picking a team at Fulham.

He also urged those who are left out of his first line-up not to lose heart, referring to his time at Leicester City when the team pulled off a scarcely believable Premier League triumph.

"It's important all my players are available, I start with one line up and can change," he added.

"Remember at Leicester I started without [N'Golo] Kante, [Danny] Simpson and [Christian] Fuchs, and slowly, slowly it was good.

"It's important the other players don't go down [in terms of their motivation]. They have an opportunity, everyone is in the Premier League. If they [let their heads] go down, everybody is in the Championship."