Claudio Ranieri believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "deserves" to be appointed Manchester United's permanent manager.
The Norwegian has excelled since succeeding Jose Mourinho on a caretaker basis, overseeing nine victories from 10 matches, and remaining undefeated to transform the club's season.
Saturday's fixture at Craven Cottage represents the start of a period that is expected to influence whether Solskjaer remains at Old Trafford - in the coming weeks they also face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Ranieri, who arrived at the London club a month before Solskjaer returned to Manchester but who has struggled to have anything close to the same positive effect as the 45-year-old, said: "At the moment he deserves it. He's shown all the players are with him.
"Manchester United's mentality has changed. Why not?
"I remember him as a player, against Chelsea. He was a fantastic player. His career's open, and I wish him all the best."
Ranieri, however, feels that "sooner or later (United) have to lose", adding: "Why not against us?"
The Italian said: "We must be positive and we have to fight. If we don't fight and lose, you lose before you play.
"If the opponent is better, well done to them. I want to see my players fight until the end. My fans will be happy seeing the players fight for every ball."