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Last Updated: 01/12/18 2:55pm
Claudio Ranieri has called on Tom Cairney to rediscover the form which saw him play an integral role in Fulham’s push for Premier League promotion.
The 27-year-old scored the winning goal for Fulham in the Championship play-off final at Wembley as they returned to England’s top-flight after a four-year absence.
Cairney picked up an ankle injury on his third Premier League appearance and is yet to score a goal this season but has been moved into a more advanced role by new Cottagers boss Ranieri.
“He is a good player with a high quality, but I want more from him,” Ranieri said.
“I want him to play as well in the Premier League as he did in the Championship. He scored a lot of goals there, and I want the same again.
“He makes assists but also he can score goals, these are important because he has very good timings to arrive, he has a good left foot and I say to him, ‘try, try’, but, it’s a little hard.”
Sky Live: Chelsea vs Fulham
Claudio Ranieri returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Fulham kick off Derby Day with a clash against Chelsea, live on Sky Sports.
Fulham face Chelsea in a west London derby on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Ranieri says Cairney needs to be bolder in front of goal.
“He has to shoot more; he has the quality to shoot, he must improve,” Ranieri added.
“Try! It’s no problem, try! I ask him during training, ‘shoot at goal, shoot at goal’, but he passes and he passes.
“Maybe when he comes to me on the bench he will realise and say, ‘maybe it’s much better if I shoot at goal’.”
Ranieri began his tenure as Fulham boss with a 3-2 victory against Southampton and, despite facing a daunting test against former side Chelsea, he is hopeful Aleksandar Mitrovic can maintain his goalscoring touch.
“I believe in Aleksandar, but I think he needs more and more, and time for him to understand my philosophy,” said Ranieri, who saw Mitrovic score twice last week.
“Until he understands, it’s important he keeps scoring goals. He has to be very, very strong; I want him to improve his pressing, and that’s it.
“And we have to try to make very good balls for him. Against Southampton we made three crosses and we scored three times.”