Football news - Claudio Ranieri leaves Fulham as Scott Parker is named caretaker manager
Claudio Ranieri has left his role as Fulham manager after just 17 games in charge, with Scott Parker named as caretaker boss until the end of the season.
When the Italian was appointed as Slavisa Jokanovic’s successor at Fulham in November, the club’s owner Shahid Khan described him as “risk free”, but Ranieri has left Craven Cottage with the club 19th in the Premier League and 10 points adrift of safety.
Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Southampton proved the final straw, and Ranieri has been dismissed following showdown talks with the club’s hierarchy - CEO Alistair Mackintosh and vice-chairman Tony Khan.
Former England midfielder Parker has been placed in caretaker charge, and his first game will be against local rivals Chelsea, another of his and Ranieri's former clubs, on Sunday.
It had been hoped that Claudio Ranieri's tactical acumen would pull Fulham clear of troublePA Sport
Nine of the 17 points that Ranieri gained in charge came in the opening eight matches, and Fulham took just three points from Ranieri's last eight games in charge with the reverse on the south coast representing a fourth straight loss.
Khan has released a statement following his conversation with Ranieri earlier on Thursday, that reads: “Following our discussion this afternoon, Claudio Ranieri agreed to my decision that a change was in the best interest of everyone. No surprise to me, Claudio was a perfect gentleman, as always.
" Claudio’s tenure at Fulham didn’t produce the outcome we anticipated and needed when I appointed him as manager in November, but be assured he is not solely to blame for the position we are in today. "
"Claudio walked into a difficult situation, inheriting a side that gained only one point in its prior eight matches, and he provided an immediate boost by leading our club to nine points in his first eight matches as manager. Though we were unable to maintain that pace thereafter, I am grateful for his effort. Claudio leaves Fulham as our friend and he will undoubtedly experience success again soon.
Scott Parker has been appointed in a caretaker rolePA Sport
"I am asking Scott Parker to serve as our caretaker manager. Scott’s immediate assignment is merely to help us stabilize, grow and rediscover ourselves as a football club.
"If Scott can answer that challenge, and our players respond to the opportunity, perhaps victories will follow in the months ahead. What’s most important at this moment, however, is to regroup in a smart and deliberate manner that will serve our long-term vision for sustainable success. If we’re able to do that and win some matches to make a stand late in the season, all the better.”
When Ranieri was appointed, the Cottagers sat bottom of the Premier League table with five points from 12 matches - and he was handed a "multi-year" contract without a relegation clause inserted in it.
But he departs with Fulham in an even more perilous position to when his tenure started.
He said: “I am obviously disappointed with the recent results and that we could not build on the good start we made following my appointment. Finally, I would like to thank the club, the players and the fans for the support they have given me during my time at the club.”
Khan called it a "risk-free" appointment, but he has been proven wrong, a fantasist who believed what he described as Ranieri's "legendary" body of work at Leicester and experience at Chelsea would translate itself into success at Fulham.
Ranieri's reign began well with Fulham beating Southampton alongside the River Thames, but it came full circle with Saints gaining their revenge to put the final nail in his coffin.
Fulham must now accept that the only way of gaining something from a disastrous return to the Premier League is to start rebuilding for next season in the Championship, and Parker's appointment as caretaker offers them that chance.