Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri believes his defence must improve and match the quality of Arsenal if Fulham are to avoid relegation as the Gunners eventually won at a canter in north-London on Sunday.
It proved to be an infuriating afternoon for the visitors who could of so easily made more of an impression on the game. Ranieri's troops came to the Emirates to counter-attack and it paid dividends as Fulham cut through the Arsenal back-line on several occasions.
However, incompetence in front of goal and further defensive mishaps cost Fulham as they succame to their 13th league defeat of the season.
"It was a strange, strange match. When you come to Arsenal, you know the quality of the players is different,” said Ranieri, who is still yet to mastermind a victory over the Gunners in his decorated career.
“I was so pleased with my players because for the first 30 minutes we played so well. We pressed higher, we created two great chances to score, and the Arsenal fans weren’t happy with their team.
“But we made a mistake. The goal came from the heart of the box. We were too wide. In the second half again, we made mistakes, and they scored again.
“We reopened the match, but then we were tired. The skill of the Arsenal players is amazing and they made more chances. At the end, 4-1, you have to say ‘shut up, well done’ to them.”
Ranieri to be backed in January?
Victory here could have been transformational for Ranieri and the Cottagers season. Fulham have so far only registered victories over Burnley, Southampton and Huddersfield, so to win here could have galvanised the squad and unleashed a confidence that once did not exist.
But, instead, the visitors fell short yet again. The result leaves Fulham still in the relegation zone as the January transfer window draw near and the Premier League winning manager is confident owner Shadid Kan will help the Italian bolster his backline despite the club already spending over £100 million in the summer window.
“I spoke every day with everybody, and if there will be an opportunity for us, I’m sure my chairman will help the club to stay in the Premier League," Ranieri added.
“My defence has improved a lot. But when you play against these kinds of players, they are fast, skilful. That’s what we have to improve – being faster than them.”