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The Tanner Report : Fulham 0 Manchester United 3

Although we had two scoreable chances in the first 10 minutes, the new look Manchester United ran out easy winners. It was the same old, same old defensive lapses, it’s now 58 goals conceded.

It’s time to assess Claudio Ranieri and the place to start is his first game against Southampton.

He was appointed on 14th November and won that first game, only one of 4 victories all season. The owner Shahid Khan in his Fulham/Southampton programme notes explained that he was appointed because he was immediately available and had a good track record in the Premiership with Chelsea and Leicester, where he won the title, and had been to many Fulham games this season.

He did not say so – though Ranieri did – but it was hoped our defensive lapses would be addressed and cured.

They have not.

At the time of Southampton we had conceded 31 goals in 12 matches, it’s now 58 in 26.

The promotion team has more or less been dismantled, the young starlet that made the goals against Aston Villa, Ryan Sessegnon, and the captain who scored it Tom Cairney, both of whom showed commendable loyalty in staying with us, rarely start.

Instead we have loanees like Andre Schurrle who in the week said he would not observe his 2 year loan period.

In a interview Ranieri said he (Schurrle) tracks back to cover the fullback – we saw none of that yesterday or any other game – and the one chance that fell his way he missed. Undoubtedly a great technical player, his recruitment illustrates a crucial failure to analyse if the character of a player would fit in the dressing room. The same applies to the now departed Abou Kamara.

Elements of Ranieri’s game management have been baffling: he has played Luciano Vietto, a skillful wide player with just one goal, at centre forward. Ibrahim Cisse, who hardly figured in the Championship, has played twice with little effect.

Tom Cairney, a wholly left-sided player, is picked on the right.

Some players are picked every week irrespective of form, others are dropped, restored and dropped again.

The white wall of Fulham fans at Wembley in the play-off final that got us over the line with 10 men on the pitch is now muted, singing the odd chant of “He’s one of our own, Ryan Sessegon is one of our own” in the forlorn hope that one of England ‘s brightest talents might just get on the pitch.

I have reached the stage where I believe relegation to be inevitable and my best hope is that we hang onto the players who achieved promotion. The loanees Ryan Babel, Callum Chambers, Andre Schürrle and Sergio Rico can and will return to their clubs and hopefully the likes of Tom Cairney, Ryan Sessegnon, Kevin MacDonald, Stefan Johansen and Marcus Bettinelli will get game time.

The conveyor belt of talent from the Academy will filter through. Alex Mitrovic will want to go but his transfer money and the parachute payment will make for a sizeable war chest. The owner has made a sizeable investment in the club but, aside from Jokatovic, his choice of manager has not delivered a return.

About Alan Tanner

After a distinguished military service in the Catering Corps, Alan Tanner did well in mufti with his chamois as a window cleaner. Sadly he had to retire after falling from the fifth floor of Danny Murphy's mock Tudor home. He spends his retirement watching and writing about his beloved Fulham whom he has supported for over 50 years. The Alan Tanner Report is sponsored by Tanner Crystal Clear Ltd, Window Cleaners to the Gentry. More Posts