x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

After Spalletti's sparkle, Ranieri brings realism

Roma need a "jolt" to snap out of their poor early season form new coach Claudio Ranieri said yesterday.

Claudio Ranieri, left, shakes hands with Roma's club president Rosella Sensi yesterday.
Claudio Ranieri, left, shakes hands with Roma's club president Rosella Sensi yesterday.

Roma need a "jolt" to snap out of their poor early season form new coach Claudio Ranieri said yesterday. Ranieri agreed to a two-year contract with the Serie A club after Luciano Spalletti resigned following two losses to open the Italian season. "Spalletti's Roma had a sparkling sense of play. My philosophy is a little different - I'm bringing my pragmatism to this team," Ranieri said after a team meeting and training session.

"What's really needed is a jolt, because this team has to make a turnaround right away. Maybe the guys lost a little bit of belief." Roma lost to Genoa 3-2 on the opening day of the season and were beaten by Juventus 3-1 on Sunday, but club president Rosella Sensi said she was surprised by Spalletti's resignation. "I respect Spalletti, but I didn't expect him to abandon the ship," Sensi said. "He made his choices and I suppose he had his reasons."

Roma were runners-up in Serie A in Spalletti's first three seasons, but the Giallorossi finished sixth last season and out of the Champions League places. "In the last four years, this team did some great things, displaying some of the best football in Europe. Fifteen months ago this team was a half hour from winning the Serie A title," said the Rome-born Ranieri. "As a Roman, watching them play filled me with pride. I'm coming home with a great desire to do well."

Ranieri began his playing career with Roma, but appeared just six times for the club in 1973-74. As a coach, Ranieri has taken charge of Fiorentina, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Parma. He was fired by Juventus with two games remaining last season. Struggling financially, Roma have been unable to make many big acquisitions in recent seasons, and the club is still largely dependent on captain Francesco Totti, who turns 33 later this month. Upon her arrival at the team's training centre, Sensi was greeted by graffiti scrawled on walls calling for her departure.

"We certainly didn't meet all of the objectives we set forth for and I know we haven't met the fans' expectations," she said. "My words are not going to make anyone happy, but I think our squad is competitive. * Agencies