Claudio Ranieri. AFP

Fulham’s new manager Claudio Ranieri says he “needed to come back to England” after being announced as the Cottagers manager on Wednesday.

The 67-year-old Italian was sacked at Leicester in February 2017, just nine months after leading the Foxes to the Premier League title at odds of 5,000-1.

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However, speaking to Fulham’s official website, he said: “I felt I needed to come back to England.

“I went abroad last season to finish my story, but my feeling for English football is so strong that I felt I had to come back.

“What I’ve achieved is in the past. I always look forward and want more, I hope to do a very good job.”

He added: “Craven Cottage is amazing. When I first arrived here I thought, ‘Wow!’ It is a story in itself.

“Often I came to watch matches at Fulham because of my love of football. I came to the very first game of the season against Crystal Palace.

“Fulham showed very good football and it was unbelievable how they conceded two goals. Often this season Fulham have conceded too many goals.

“It’s not only the full-back or the goalkeeper. When you attack, you attack as 11, when you defend, you defend as 11.”

Ranieri had earlier said his priority upon taking over at Craven Cottage is to sort out Fulham’s leaky defence which has seen the club slip to rock bottom in the Premier League table, with one win in 12 games, conceding 31 goals in the process.