Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri: 'This three points means we are alive'
Fulham 'are alive' and can 'see a little light in front of us' according to boss Claudio Ranieri after his side produced a remarkable comeback to win 4-2 at home against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League this evening.
Glenn Murray's first-half double gave the Seagulls a commanding lead at the break but a Lazarus-like revival for the Cottagers saw goals from Calum Chambers, skipper Aleksandar Mitrovic (two), and Luciano Vietto secure a vital three points.
Fulham's victory sees them stay second-from-bottom but the Italian's side are now just five-points off 17th-placed Southampton, although the Saints do have a game in hand.
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He said: "This three points means we are alive. It means that we could see a little light in front of us but it is only a little step.
"We are alive and for us it is very important. I want to see again this fighting spirit together. We showed very good fighting spirit.
"For us, all the matches are tough and crucial because we are in the relegation zone. We are confident.
"I am positive and for us it's important this kind of match.
"We have always believed but I told my players now to enjoy this night but tomorrow morning we restart because there is another tough match for us."
Nine days ago, the Cottagers were just moments away from picking up a good point at home to Champions League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur but Harry Winks' 93rd-minute goal secured a late win for Spurs to break Fulham hearts.
After a morale sapping defeat, Ranieri was delighted with the response of his players after finding themselves up against it at half-time. During the break the Italian implored his player to 'find the solution' and this paid dividends as the Cottagers claimed victory.
Ranieri added: "I gave confidence and positivity to my players. I said we are in the match and we need to continue to move the ball very quickly and try to find the solution."
"We were down after 17 minutes 2-0 but I said it is much better (to be behind) in the beginning than at the end like at Tottenham, when we didn't have time to react.
"It was good because we reacted immediately in the first-half without scoring goals. In the second-half Chambers' goal was very important because the players found the confidence to say we can do something good this night."
Ranieri singled out new boy Ryan Babel for particular praise after his performance in the victory. The 32-year-old Dutch winger joined the Cottagers from Turkish side Besiktas on January 15, with his deal running until the end of this season, and has impressed in his first two games for the club.
Fulham's boss said: "Babel gave us some experience and leadership because every time he got the ball he was very calm and tried to do something good for the team.
"The others follow him."
Ranieri has also refused to rule out a return for wantaway French forward Aboubakar Kamara. The 23-year-old was arrested at Fulham's training ground on January 23 on suspicion of actual bodily harm and criminal damage.
The Italian admitted he was unsure of the full extent of the incident which led to the striker's arrest, but revealed he was willing to let Kamara back into the fold.
He added: "Everyday I speak with the owner and if there is some opportunity they help me.
"With Kamara, I don't what happened but I'm ready to bring him back. He made mistakes but for me he could come back."