Claudio Ranieri revealed Jose Mourinho was the first manager to welcome him “home” as Fulham prepare to take on Manchester United
The 67-year-old was surprisingly named the new Fulham coach last month following Slavisa Jokanovic’s dismissal after a poor start on their return to the Premier League.
Ranieri has since managed one win in his three games in charge with Fulham still bottom of the league table.
The Italian will be hoping to extend United’s winless run in the league to five matches ahead of Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford.
But, despite having been criticised by Mourinho in the past, Ranieri revealed the good relationship he has with the Portuguese – who showed his support for him when he was sacked from Leicester City by wearing his initials, CR, in a show of solidarity.
“He was the first who sent me a message to say welcome back. He is a very friendly friend,” said Ranieri, according to the Telegraph.
“He told me, ‘Welcome back, all the best’. We speak about everything.
“It was a text message. Sometimes we speak. He’s a fantastic man.
“I know him for a long time, when he came to Chelsea and in Italy, and he was very polite with me.
“He’s a great man, coach, manager and also the football is important.
“I enjoy very much (being back in the Premier League), I’ve come back home.”
The former Chelsea boss concedes that Fulham will need to be perfect against United, regardless of their struggles.
“Manchester are one of the best teams in the Premier League and also in the Champions League,” added Ranieri.
“It’s a fantastic team and stadium and we want to make a point. We know it’s hard, but nothing is impossible.
“Manchester are getting better, for us it will be difficult. We must make a perfect performance.
“Every manager would like to win, the desire is to win, but we have a great respect for Manchester.
“Every match we improve, but it’s not easy because when you stay at the bottom of the table, it’s not so (easy to be) confident 100 per cent.
“I gave my confidence to my players, but if you have two or three good results the confidence of the team grows immediately and I am confident we will do this.”