Claudio Ranieri said Roma are "attached to an oxygen tank and we need all the doctors that are available" as he thanked the club's supporters following Monday's victory against Empoli.

Back at boyhood club Roma for his second spell in charge until the end of the season, Ranieri's first match since replacing Eusebio Di Francesco ended in a 2-1 Serie A win at home to Empoli.

Stephan El Shaarawy and Patrik Schick scored for Roma, who bounced back from their demoralising 3-0 loss to bitter rivals Lazio and last week's Champions League elimination to Porto.

Roma consolidated fifth position – three points ahead of Torino and three behind Inter – with the win and Ranieri was thankful for the fans' support.

"The most important thing is Roma. Roma with their supporters," Ranieri told reporters. "I want to thank our supporters because they were incredibly helpful. In the moment of need, they were behind the team.

"Thanks to them, we won this first match and we brought home these first 3 points. And I am sure that they will be there in Ferrara [against SPAL] as well, that they will help us again, because we need them.

"In this moment, we need them. We are attached to an oxygen tank, therefore we need all the doctors that are available."

On the match itself, which saw Roma finish with 10 men following Alessandro Florenzi's 80th-minute red card, Ranieri added: "The best thing about today is the result. About the things we have to change and get better at, I will only tell the team. It was a difficult match, we knew that, for a thousand reasons.

"And one of the main reasons, apart from all the situation that was created by the two defeats in a row in the last two matches [against Lazio and Porto], is the fact that we had to play we had to play without some of our best players. But I have to say that the lads that played today tried to do their best. A victory like this helps our self-esteem and at getting better, but there is a lot of work to do."

El Shaarawy opened the scoring with a stunning long-range effort in the ninth minute, though Juan Jesus' own goal restored parity for Empoli three minutes later.

Schick – playing in the absence of suspended striker Edin Dzeko – restored Roma's lead with his 33rd-minute goal, which proved to be the winner.

Asked about Ranieri, El Shaarawy said: "The coach asked us for a few different things – the shape was a bit different for us tonight, but we adapted to it as the boss asked us to. We did some things well, some things less well, but in the end we got the three points. We need to take this same spirit into every game."