Claudio Ranieri was pleased to get his whole squad together for the first time on Thursday.
Due to various international commitments, the morning training session was the first time the entire squad had joined up since his appointment, and Ranieri believes his players are buying into his teachings.
“It’s a good moment because I spoke with the rest of the players,” he said. “Today I repeated to everyone in the squad what my philosophy is, and I think they understand very well.
“My message is that the team is a good team, but now it’s important to show a fighting spirit. Of course, it’s not only about having a fighting spirit, tactical movement is very important too.
“It’s not easy to change direction, but it’s important to try and do the very best all together, with a good spirit, and to be very astute tactically.
“This week I worked hard, and they followed me very well. [But] you cannot arrange everything in a few days. It’s important to never give up and continue to fight.
“You can’t do anything about the past, just react. I saw a good reaction from my players. When you change the manager, everyone wants to show that they are the best. I want to see the right mentality and a strong body language.”
Such is the tightness down the bottom of the Premier League, victory for Fulham would move us level on points with Saturday’s opponents, and Ranieri admitted he’s been surprised by the Saints’ struggles.
“It’s been strange because Southampton have a good manager and very good players, but in football you never know what can happen,” he stated.
“They make a lot of crosses for [Charlie] Austin, [Danny] Ings, [Shane] Long and [Manolo] Gabbiadini, and it's very important for us to stop these crosses.
“I hope to maintain a clean sheet, and if we score, much better. It’s a crucial match on Saturday, for us and Southampton.
“Of course, it’s important to win, but we must be calm and continue to work because it’s not possible to change everything in one night.
“It’s important to get points, but also it's important to maintain our mentality of never giving up. Not just in the match, but for all season. In the end, I am sure we will be safe.
“I showed the players videos from the previous match and said what’s right and wrong. But it’s one thing to watch, it’s different to repeat it on the pitch. Slowly, slowly, they’re getting better.”
Ranieri boasts a vast curriculum vitae when it comes to football management, and he was asked which of his previous jobs best compares to the challenge at Fulham.
“When I was at Cagliari, after the first part of the league, we were down at the bottom,” he recalled. “All the journalists said Cagliari were down, but at the end of the season we were safe with one game to spare.
“When I was at Parma, by the end of February we were safe. Now, I want to repeat that. I’m a positive man and I want to give my positivity to the players.
“Our fans are our blood. They have to push in every situation. We need them more than other things. They are very important.”