Ranieri speaks ahead of Roma-Empoli


Claudio Ranieri spoke today ahead of his debut return on the bench of Roma tomorrow against Empoli. These are his words:

How are your emotions today compared to those of ten years ago?
Emotions are always good, let’s just say that I continue to do this work because it gives me a lot of emotion. It feels wonderful to be here – coming back to Roma, as a fan myself, is always going to be special. I know it’s a tough period for the team but we’ve got big ambitions. I’m ready to fight.

You’ve only directed two training sessions, but what sort of indications did you get? Has something stand out to you? Did you learn where you have to intervene?
I have had only one training session and there were only 12 players because everyone else was recovering from the Porto clash. Today will be the first training with a few more players. I’m curious, I’ll talk to everyone to see if they have recovered. The most important thing is motivation. Those who are here are in a negative moment, I am coming from the outside and I can say that the Champions League is very close. Our next two matches will be very important. The fans will be very important, they must understand that these guys are in trouble and perhaps want to feel wanted. I am sincere —- I can not bring this team into the Champions League on my own, we’ll feel more confident with the fans behind us. As a Roma supporter, I ask the same: help us.

What has impressed you from a technical standpoint? Is the defensive phase the priority?
Scoring doesn’t seem to be an issue, defensively, we all have to want to get back to our level. When I had the chance, I followed the team, and it seems we’ve conceded a lot after having lost the ball. If you lose the ball and they score, the player who lost the ball always feels guilty. It is important not to lose the ball, I will talk with the lads and we will study the most suitable solution to avoid losing a lot of balls.

How do you see three players: is Florenzi a full-back? Can Zaniolo play in the middle or on the wing? Can Schick and Dzeko play together?
Florenzi is a universal player, he can play both at the back and up front with the same characteristics depending on the opponent and the tactical situation. The important thing is that he is recovered: he is Roman and I understand it — any time you make a mistake it weighs on you more. Dzeko and Schick need to play together. Patrik is very good, very fast, technically strong. In Porto he came on and showed real hunger. If he really gets going, which he is close to doing, the fans will fall in love with him.

The Editor of RomaPress.us, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including ASRoma.com, EuroFantasyLeague.com, and ESPN.