Claudio Ranieri said Wednesday’s Premier League encounter with former side Leicester City will be a strange and emotional experience.
Ranieri, who helped Leicester defy 5,000-1 odds to win the league title in the 2015-16 campaign, faces the club for the first time since he was sacked last year.
Fulham are bottom of the table with eight points from 14 games and face a tough task against a Leicester side who are eighth with 21 points.
“It’ll be very strange. Very emotional moment, but it’s OK. That is football. It will be a good moment, for sure, but we have to win,” Ranieri, who took charge of Fulham after Slavisa Jokanovic’s sacking last month, told reporters.
Ranieri had an immediate impact as Fulham beat Southampton 3-2 in his first game in charge before they were brought back down to earth with a 2-0 loss to Chelsea, another of Ranieri’s former sides.
The Italian said his team had to change their approach to the busy December period, which also includes games against Manchester United, West Ham, Newcastle, Wolves and Huddersfield.
“Every match is a cup final. Our fans must help us and we must make them proud of us,” Ranieri added.
“I want to see progress after Southampton and Chelsea… the more we play together they [players] improve, there are players who understand early and others must work some more.”