Claudio Ranieri says Fulham will avoid relegation after Newcastle draw
Fulham manager also says his team was denied a penalty at St James' Park
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 23/12/18 3:01pm
Claudio Ranieri insists Fulham will avoid relegation this season, even though they will spend Christmas Day bottom of the Premier League table.
The Italian was pleased to see his side record their first clean sheet of the season in Saturday afternoon's goalless draw at Newcastle, but despite picking up a point they remain below Huddersfield on goal difference.
Only three sides in the history of the Premier League have avoided the drop after being bottom at Christmas, but Ranieri believes his players will buck that trend.
"I'm a little worried because we are bottom of the league," he told Sky Sports.
"But I am very, very positive and I believe that in the end we will be safe.
"I am very satisfied against Newcastle, a very physical club and a very physical match. We played well.
"In the first half we were very sure to keep possession of the ball without creating a very big chance.
"In the second half they had control of the match and they made a lot of crosses - 30 - but without making something. Our keeper never made a save.
"We created four or five chances on the counter-attack to score a goal and I am satisfied. For us it is the first clean sheet of the season and that is very, very important.
"It gives us a little more confidence."
Christmas is for football
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Rafael Benitez claimed Newcastle should have been awarded a penalty when Kenedy appeared to be tugged down by Joe Bryan in the Fulham box.
But Ranieri insisted Fulham should feel more aggrieved after Aleksandar Mitrovic had a shot blocked by the arm of Jamaal Lascelles.
He added: "This evening when [Benitez] watches the television, he might say there wasn't a penalty for Newcastle and maybe it was for us.
"In this moment it is enough not to concede a goal and we will try to win the next match."