Claudio Ranieri has admitted Fulham are desperately craving the daily bread of a clean sheet to kick-start their Premier League survival fight.
Basement club Fulham boast just nine points from 17 games and a minus 26 goal difference, leaving Italian manager Ranieri challenging the Craven Cottage men to tighten up at the back.
Fulham make the long trip to Newcastle on Saturday, with Ranieri hoping for far greater defensive organisation from his charges.
Ranieri admitted Fulham now face four matches that could potentially define their season, with clashes against Wolves, Huddersfield and Arsenal all in the offing between now and New Year’s Day.
“I need a clean sheet, I need a clean sheet, like I need bread, like I need pasta!” said Ranieri.
“This period is very important, because four matches in a row, I’ll put Arsenal in that as well.
“It’s important for us. So for the players, don’t think, it’s important, play, then play, then play, then clean up the mind.
“That’s important now. I enjoy this period a lot. For us it’s very, very important, these four matches in 10 days.
“Of course we want to get points wherever we can, and then after this Christmas period, we’ll see.
“For Fulham, bottom of the table, every match is crucial, Every match could be good to survive or not survive. But we’ll fight until the end.”
Fulham have just one win in 12 Premier League matches and Ranieri knows his side need to pick up points – and fast – to keep pace with the teams above them.
Traditionally the side bottom at Christmas fails to avoid the drop, but the 67-year-old remains confident in Fulham’s ability to extend their Premier League stay beyond next summer.
“We need to make a point in two or three matches in a row,” the Italian added.
“It’s important to take confidence, because now the players are a little nervous and it’s normal.
“But they are working well, and who works well, at the end, will win.
“It’s important to believe, to work hard and be confident in each other.
“But I love this experience in England, with a busy Christmas, it’s changed now in Italy and it’s similar there too.”