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AS Roma better off without Ranieri 

Steve Shoup

Even though it’s only until the end of the season, AS Roma was perfect for Claudio Ranieri. It was a case of desperation meet desperation. I Giallorossi was in a sticky patch, losing a grip on Champions League qualification. The Roman job was shot at redemption for the Tinkerman.

After almost a decade gallivanting around Europe, Ranieri returned home in March. Most recently, his career featured two unsuccessful spells in France sandwiched between mixed stints in England.

Ranieri is fondly remembered for his fairytale Premier League winning exploit with Leicester City in 2016. The Italian racked up an impressive 32 victories from 52 matches, losing only eight. That equates to a 62% win ratio, achieved with a mixture of adventurous football and perfect man-management according to betting site.

Things looked down afterwards. A ninth place finish with Ligue 1 side Nantes all he could muster. He won just three games out of the 17 in charge at Fulham, leaving the Cottagers relegated and no better than they were under Slavisa Jokanovic. Ranieri was meant to solidify them defensively, but he sadly couldn’t turn Denis Odoi into a prime John Terry.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s dismissal paved way for Ranieri to return to the ground his footballing sojourn began 35 years ago. I Lupi regressed from last season. They crashed out of the Champions League in an agonising extra-time defeat to Porto. Fiorentina inflicted a humiliating 7-1 thrashing in the Coppa Italia to ensure another season devoid of a trophy. Above all, they were ripped apart by Lazio in last week’s Derby Della Capitale.

Eusebio charm flawed at the back. His fluid attack lacked defensive coverage. Roma conceded 36 goals in Serie A, more than any other side in the top seven.  Although his methods may be unorthodox (buying his players pizza if they keep a clean sheet), he was expected to inspire the side. Well, he hasn’t.

Ranieri began in style, a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Empoli. That lifted the weak spirits at the Stadio Olimpico. However, subsequent results mean the spirits are back to status quo and perhaps snore.

While fans were still reeling over a shock defeat at SPAL, a disaster followed. Roma was thrashed 4-1 by Napoli at home. They could only share the spoils with visiting Fiorentina in the next game. That equated one maximum points in four matches.

Ranieri was fortunate to return with three from Sampdoria last week. But their Champions League chances for next season are already hurt. Roma is placed sixth – two points above arch-rival Lazio with an outstanding game. Atalanta, AC Milan and Inter Milan are better placed for Europe’s elite club.

Except something drastic happens, the Tinkerman may depart the capital worst.



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