Claudio Ranieri delivers blunt assessment of Aleksandar Mitrovic's Newcastle career

Claudio Ranieri's spoken ahead of Aleksandar Mitrovic's return to St James's Park.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 12:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 1:18 pm
Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Mitrovic will lead the line for Fulham against his former club Newcastle United on Saturday.

The 24-year-old was sold by Rafa Benitez in the summer after failing out of favour on Tyneside.

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri was asked about Mitrovic's return in his pre-match press conference.

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"I hope when a player goes back to a previous club he wants to show something more," said Ranieri.

"At Newcastle he didn’t do a good job – it’s not easy to adapt to English football – but I hope he has an outstanding match."

Asked if he expected Mitrovic to get a good reception from Newcastle fans, Ranieri said: "I don’t know – I hope Aleksandar will do a good match."

Mitrovic – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage – has scored seven Premier League goals so far this season.

Fulham are bottom of the league with nine points from 17 games.

Meanwhile, Ranieri was full of praise for United manager Benitez.

"I saw him a long time ago in Valencia," said Ranier. "He's a great manager, and has won a lot.

"He's very intelligent, tactically attentive and has created a good group. The team is intense, strong, tight.

"Rafa is more Italian than me. He's very attentive to the tactical movement of players."