Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said Claudio Ranieri can “have a very great impact” at Fulham after his team overcame a spirited Cottagers side to claim a valuable victory at Stamford Bridge.
However, despite a brave second-half performance, his Cottagers were unable to breach the Chelsea defence and they fell to defeat through goals from Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek either side of the break.
“Today was about the result – we gave more attention to the defensive phase to get the win,” Sarri told Sky Sports.
“Now we have to start to improve and play our football in a better way.
“Ranieri can have a very great impact at Fulham, in two or three weeks they will defend very well and in a month, playing against them will be a problem for any team.”
The Blues took the lead early on when Pedro slotted home from N’Golo Kante’s pass and they could have had more in the first half had Sergio Rico not twice denied Olivier Giroud.
Fulham threatened to find an equaliser in the second half as Chelsea struggled for fluency, but substitute Loftus-Cheek made the win safe when he fired past Rico after an intricate passing move with Eden Hazard and Pedro.
Defeat for Fulham means they stay bottom of the table, having claimed only one point from a possible 24 away from home this season.
Ranieri, who managed Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, believed his team deserved a draw.
“We wanted to play football but we made mistakes and against big champions you pay everything for that,” Ranieri told BBC Sport.
“In the second half we changed system and maybe we deserved to draw the match. I am satisfied with how my players made decisions with the ball. We played together strongly and created good chances.”