'I need a clean sheet like I need pasta' – Ranieri nervous about Fulham's survival hopes

Fulham have conceded 42 times in the Premier League this term and are yet to keep a clean sheet, a run the manager is desperate to end at Newcastle

Claudio Ranieri is desperate for Fulham to shore up defensively, saying “I need a clean sheet like I need pasta” after the club’s poor start to the season.

Fulham sit rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after 17 matches, conceding 42 times already, more than any other side in the division.

The Cottagers’ woes come despite a pre-season of significant spending, and Ranieri is yet to have much of an impact since replacing the sacked Slavisa Jokanovic in November.

None of Fulham’s league games this term have seen them stop the opposition from scoring, and Ranieri acknowledged that is a source of immense frustration.

“For the players, don’t think, it’s important, play, then play, then play, then clean up the mind,” the Italian said.

“For Fulham, bottom of the table, every match is crucial. Every match could be good to survive or not survive. But we’ll fight until the end.

“I need a clean sheet, I need a clean sheet, like I need bread, like I need pasta. We need to make a point in two or three matches in a row.

“It’s important to take confidence, because now the players are a little nervous and it’s normal.”

Fulham travel to Newcastle United on Saturday and then host Wolves on Boxing Day, followed by a home game against Huddersfield. Ranieri’s team will then start 2019 with an away match at Arsenal.

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