Claudio Ranieri joked he “preferred to be called a wily old fox when I was young, as it’s a little too close to home now” after a Sampdoria debut on his 68th birthday.
The native Roman made his first appearance on the Blucerchiati bench in a 0-0 draw with his hometown club Roma this afternoon.
“The lads worked very well in training, but you can only tell so much in that situation,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“Roma are a good team, they keep possession, but we wanted to push them towards the wings, as they are above all dangerous through the middle. We weren’t that interested in possession.”
Ranieri celebrates his 68th birthday today and joked when asked about his surprise pick of Andrea Bertolacci.
“I preferred to be called a wily old fox when I was young, as now it feels a little too close to home! Maybe you think I’m going senile…
“I told Bertolacci to play as long as he could and then I’d bring in Albin Ekdal, who arrived very tired after international duty. I was satisfied with the midfield, combining experience with youth. I had wanted Bertolacci in a more advanced position, closer to Quagliarella, but after a while there were too many gaps and I asked him to remain back there to protect the defence.”
Eusebio Di Francesco had said that the confused club ownership situation, with President Massimo Ferrero recently abandoning takeover talks.
“I’ve been through a lot in my career, but the important thing is what happens on the field. The players and I need to show no interest in what is going on off the pitch. The fans were supporting us with a positive wind in our sails and that is what we needed.”
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