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Claudio Ranieri says he is counting on the core of the Fulham side that won promotion under Slavisa Jokanovic to steer the Whites away from the relegation zone.

The Italian manager highlighted the crucial contributions of Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, who have both been rotated during the festive period, as well as the goalscoring prowess of Aleksandar Mitrovic after yesterday’s late win over Huddersfield Town at Craven Cottage. Ranieri revealed that Sessegnon is still building up his match sharpness after returning from injury, whilst there has been speculation that Cairney could be made available during the January transfer window – but the Fulham boss appears to believe the club’s most used combinations will be crucial in the weeks ahead.

Speaking to the press following Fulham’s dramatic win last night, Ranieri said:

It’s very, very important the relationship with old players, young players but old in Fulham. It is very, very important. I don’t have time to make some experience with a friendly match I have to try to do my best and I know we can press all of the match and then I need to choose when is the right moment to press all together.

Ranieri was also full of praise for Mitrovic, both in terms of his coolness in front of goal and his measured response to Aboubakar Kamara’s insistence that he would take the crucial penalty against the Terriers despite the Serbian being Fulham’s nominated spot-kick taker.

He is a young goalscorer but he is an intelligent player. He knows that there are moments you score every match and some moments you wait. I never see him nervous, he’s always calm, working well during the training session and for me this is the best thing. He was great when he understood Kamara didn’t want to give it to him the ball and goes there [to] kiss him and says ‘good luck’.