Football news - ‘I need a clean sheet like I need pasta’, says Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri
Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri has outlined the extent to which his struggling team crave a Premier League win at Newcastle this weekend, by admitting: “I need a clean sheet like I need pasta”.
The Whites are bottom of the table as they head to St James’ Park on Saturday having conceded in every game this season, but they are just three points adrift of 17th place.
A third league win of the season against Newcastle would provide welcome relief for the west London club, with fixtures against Wolves, Huddersfield and Arsenal to come over the festive period.
Fulham have conceded 42 goals so far this season, and at his press conference on Friday, Ranieri said: "I need a clean sheet, I need a clean sheet, like I need bread, like I need pasta.
" 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."
"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."
Ranieri motivated his Leicester City players during the 2015/16 season with the promise he would buy pizza if they kept a clean sheet.
Fulham defender Alfie MawsonGetty Images
Meanwhile, Alfie Mawson has labelled Fulham’s defensive record as “diabolical” but has called on his team-mates to draw on the positives in recent performances.
Having shipped an average of 2.5 goals per game, Mawson told Sky Sports: "It goes without saying - to concede in general is horrible, but to concede the amount we have conceded is diabolical, to be honest. It's embarrassing.
"[It's] down to us either being a bit naive in this league and not knowing what we're up against, and sometimes just the pure quality of this league.
"When we do get the clean sheet - which is going to come - then we can build on that."