Ranieri looks to bigger picture
Fulham's battle against relegation will not be settled by Saturday's result against Man United, according to boss Claudio Ranieri.
Of Fulham's upcoming seven fixtures, three are away from Craven Cottage - they have yet to record an away league victory this season - while the other four are against United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
By the end of that run survival could be beyond Fulham's reach, with the club already seven points adrift of safety, but Ranieri is adamant they have to retain their belief if they are to have any hope of succeeding.
Given the difficulty of their upcoming run, the Cottagers may have been relying on victory last weekend at Crystal Palace, when they again lost, yet while that result appeared to be a defining one, their manager knows it is a succession of results they now require.
It was an unexpected victory at Manchester City that gave Fulham the belief to survive when they were struggling under Roy Hodgson in 2008, but perhaps acknowledging their present circumstances are considerably bleaker, Ranieri said: "We don't need one match to change the mood. We need more matches to change the mood.
"Of course, if there's a good result against United, the mood could be changed, but you have to see the next match.
"The inspiration I have is that if you continue to fight, you maybe have one opportunity to be safe. It's not sure. But if you don't fight, you don't have that last opportunity. It's important to fight. After, if they're better than you, it's a pity, and we restart next season.
"It's contagious. Together it's easier. If you see the team, you don't see a team that's not involved in the relegation fight. No, we are fighting, but we lose some matches. Not because we don't fight; because the little details are against us."
Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.