Claudio Ranieri has reflected on the difficult start to life at Inter this season and offered comment on a number of interesting topics.
In an interview with Mediaset Premium, Ranieri began with a reflection on what it is like to live in the city of Milan.
“Milan is a marvellous city, a working city, I like it. People talk about the chaotic traffic but I've had lots of practice: Rome, London, Valencia, Madrid, I've always lived in metropolises.
“I was very young when I left Rome. I've travelled around Europe since then and it's given me a lot.”
The Rome-born tactician took over at Inter in late September after a disastrous start to the season. After an initially patchy start, Ranieri finished the year with four straight wins in Serie A.
“If you ask me why the Inter fans have taken to me so quickly, all I can think of is that they must like my attitude to hard work - I've got my head down and focused on sorting Inter out.
“I have a strong character, I say what I think and with age my defects have worsened... I joined Inter at a difficult time when the team were up to their necks but I also saw determination and a sense of belonging.
“It annoyed me when I heard people saying these players were old and wise, and I remained calm even when we lost because I could see how they worked.”
Ranieri then gave his response to reports that cliques exist in the Inter dressing room.
“If the cliques are formed by those players who are the first to arrive at training and the last to leave, then I'm the head of the clan...”
Fabio Capello is the latest figure in the game to suggest there are too many foreign players in Serie A. As Coach of the club that has fielded the highest percentage of Stranieri in the division, Ranieri offered his take on the situation.
“There are lots of good Italian players and the top-drawer players always get ahead. I'm talking about [Roberto] Baggio, [Gianluca] Vialli, [Francesco] Totti, [Alessandro] Del Piero, [Antonio] Di Natale - the latter is decisive partly because his teammates are relaxed knowing that he'll nearly always grab a goal.
“[Andrea] Pirlo probably needed a change of scenery, a new challenge, and Juventus have needed an orchestrator for ages.”
This led to discussion about the Nerazzurri’s own orchestrator, Wesley Sneijder.
“Sneijder is our prize jewel. He has to give 120%. He mustn't just be part of the squad; he has to be our leader, the one who takes us by the hand and shows us the way to great things.”
Ranieri finished the interview with some insight into his relationships with Massimo Moratti and former Inter Coach Jose Mourinho.
“I met [Moratti] during the team's toughest moment yet he seemed calm and motivated. But I've only known him for 100 days; it's been intense but it's still early.
“Have I spoken to Mourinho? We've texted each other a few times. When things weren't going well he told me the team would come through it.
“I've said to my players that we're well off the pace at the moment but I always aim to achieve the maximum. If you're not ambitious, you'll never reach the top or even get near it.”