Fulham have sacked Claudio Ranieri amid a backdrop of concerns over his ‘outdated’ coaching methods.
The Italian was hauled into a meeting with sporting director Tony Khan on Thursday morning where he was informed of the decision.
Scott Parker, who was part of Ranieri’s backroom team, will take charge on a caretaker basis.
Sportsmail understands club chiefs discussed sacking Ranieri ahead of the clash against West Ham on February 22, but a decision was made to give 67-year-old games against the Hammers – which they lost – and Wednesday’s loss at Southampton to turn the club’s fortunes around.
It was decided after the defeat at St Mary’s that Ranieri would be sacked, his departure confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
Ranieri arrived at the club’s Motspur Park training centre on Thursday to take a recovery session, but following a meeting of the board at the club’s Surrey HQ, the veteran boss was informed of the club’s decision.
Further meetings then took place with Parker, who was formally offered the role on an interim basis.
Ranieri’s dismissal comes amid uncertainty regarding his methods from members of the playing squad.
Sources claim players feel Ranieri’s approach is archaic and that there was no clear philosophy from the manager.
They also believe his tactics were too pragmatic, particularly given the club are in such deep relegation danger.
That is not to say they dislike Ranieri. The players warmed to the Italian during his short three month spell in charge.
The squad were particularly impressed with how the former Leicester manager dealt with the disruptive influence of Aboubakar Kamara, who was arrested at the club’s training ground after trying to confront chief executive Alistair Mackintosh – a story exclusively revealed by Sportsmail.
Ranieri made clear in no uncertain terms that the striker, who had upset numerous players including Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andre Schurrle and Joe Bryan, had no future at Fulham during a fiery squad meeting.
Ranieri, in front of the rest of the squad, told Kamara he was no longer part of the first-team group – banishing him to the Under 23s – and to inform his advisors to find him a new club as soon as possible. Kamara has since joined Yeni Malatyaspor.
The Italian was well respected by his players and staff, but there was grave concerns his approach hindered the club’s attempts to avoid relegation.
Parker accepted the opportunity to replace Ranieri on a caretaker basis, and will face the media for the first time on Friday ahead of Sunday’s west London derby against Chelsea.
The former England international could put himself in the running to take the job on a full time basis if he can rally the squad between now and the end of the season.
Nevertheless, Fulham will now start identifying candidates for the role of Ranieri’s long-term replacement. Steve Clarke, currently manager at Kilmarnock, is understood to be an early contender.
Fulham have inserted relegation pay cuts in players contracts to protect themselves financially if they fail to beat the drop.
In a statement Khan, virtually conceded Fulham will be playing Championship football next season – by indicating Parker’s immediate job is to ‘stabilise, grow and rediscover’ the club – with no mention at all of staying in the division.
‘Following our discussion, Claudio Ranieri agreed to my decision that a change was in the best interest of everyone. No surprise to me, Claudio was a perfect gentleman, as always.
‘I am asking Scott Parker to serve as our Caretaker Manager. Scott’s immediate assignment is merely to help us stabilise, grow and rediscover ourselves as a football club. If Scott can answer that challenge, and our players respond to the opportunity, perhaps victories will follow in the months ahead.
‘What’s most important at this moment, however, is to regroup in a smart and deliberate manner that will serve our long-term vision for sustainable success. If we’re able to do that and win some matches to make a stand late in the season, all the better.’
On his dismissal, he Ranieri added: ‘I am obviously disappointed with the recent results and that we could not build on the good start we made following my appointment.’
CLAUDIO RANIERI’S SPELL AT FULHAM
Nov 14, 2018 – Ranieri takes over from the sacked Slavisa Jokanovic
Nov 24, 2018 – Begins tenure with 3-2 victory over Southampton that takes them off the foot of the table
Dec 2, 2018 – Loses his first away game 2-0 at Chelsea
Dec 29, 2018 – Ends a run of six games without a win with a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield
Jan 6, 2019 – Dumped out of the FA Cup at third-round stage by League Two Oldham
Feb 27, 2019 – Fulham are beaten 2-0 by Southampton at St Mary’s, capping a run of four straight defeats
Feb 28, 2019 – Ranieri is sacked with the club 10 points from safety