Claudio Ranieri expressed his delight with his side’s determination and togetherness, as he returned to Premier League football with a win.
A first half-strike from André Schürrle and a brace from Aleksandar Mitrović gave the Whites an important victory over Southampton at Craven Cottage.
“For me to come back to the Premier League is emotional. For me to come to Fulham is emotional. Emotions were high,” said Ranieri.
“It was an important match, and everybody is pleased, but it’s a little step - it’s not an easy job. I was waiting for this kind of match and it was very difficult. Southampton are a good team, and we’re in a bad position. We suffered a lot, but I’m very pleased with my players because they never gave up and fought.
“We wanted to win, we showed very good fighting spirit, and our energy levels were high. I asked the players to fight until the end. After the first goal, I wanted to see our reaction and it was amazing.
“I’m very pleased with our fans too, they supported us until the end.”
The Whites fell behind to an early strike from Saints’ midfielder Stuart Armstrong, and Fulham’s Manager wants his side need to improve defensively to keep opposition chances to a minimum.
“We played a good match but gave too many chances to our opponents. Of course, I want a clean sheet and want to improve our defensive work. The whole team has to maintain the right position. I always want more.
“[Sergio] Rico had to make too many saves and I don’t like it when our goalkeeper has to work too much.
Serbian striker Mitrović broke his Premier League goal-scoring drought with a fine header and a powerful volley with the outside of his right boot, and the boss had high praise for his number 9.
“For me, Mitrović is one of the best strikers in Europe,” Ranieri enthused.
“He’s only 24 and I think he can improve more and more. At the end of the season, you’ll see how many goals he’ll score.”