Andre Schurrle knows Fulham’s talented squad will fall short unless they knuckle down, tighten up and learn from manager Claudio Ranieri.
Expectations were high at Craven Cottage after making a glut of striking signings after sealing a Premier League return via the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.
But things have gone awry this term, leading Slavisa Jokanovic to be sacked and Ranieri appointed manager at a club that sits bottom of the table after Saturday’s 4-1 loss at Manchester United.
Summer arrival Schurrle was naturally frustrated after this latest defeat for Fulham, who have plenty of work to do before hosting West Ham next weekend.
“Yeah, but you know talent is something that if you don’t work hard, all the talent doesn’t help with something,” the German World Cup winner told Press Association Sport.
“We know we are a talented squad and we know we can play some football.
“But when you come here to Old Trafford or when you play at Anfield or whatever, you need to work hard, you need to be defensively a unit and as well a little bit of luck and today we didn’t have that.”
Fulham were three goals down by half-time and hopes of a comeback proved shortlived, with substitute Aboubakar Kamara’s penalty soon followed by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa being sent off.
Marcus Rashford added gloss for United and saw the west Londoners concede their 40th goal in just 16 Premier League matches – a record only worsened by one top-flight side since the start of the 1965-66 season.
“Claudio Ranieri knows the Premier League very well and he knows how to win games,” Schurrle said of the man who masterminded Leicester’s remarkable title triumph.
“He knows how to play, and he knows that we have to be compact, we have to be solid, we have to defend with all 10 men sometimes.
“We are still getting used to it because it’s a lot of tactics, a lot of defensive work because at the moment we need it.
“We need a clean sheet somehow to get some confidence in our defending and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Now comes the frantic – and potentially crucial – festive period, which Schurrle got a taste of when fighting at the other end of the Premier League during his time at Chelsea.
“We know we have some very decisive games in December,” the 28-year-old added. “A lot of games as well with teams in the lower table.
“We need to fight. We need to have a fighting spirit like we had in the second half, that we get in the duels.
“Especially at home we need to win the games and we need to pick up more points and to get more confidence and then you can change look with the momentum and that’s what we have to do.”