Thursday December 12 2019
Ranieri: 'It couldn't be worse'

Claudio Ranieri admits the situation at Sampdoria “couldn’t be worse” but expects fans to “spur on” the side against Genoa in the Derby della Lanterna.

Only one point separates Samp from their city rivals in the Serie A relegation zone ahead of the match at Marassi on Friday evening.

Ranieri knows the derby is “emotional” for the city but warned his team needed to be “careful”.

“We arrive after three defeats. It couldn’t be worse. We’re not crying though,” he said at a press conference.

“We know the derby is emotional for everyone. We will try to play our game against a Genoa side who have already embraced the philosophy of their coach. We need to be careful and practical.

“The derby prepares for itself. The fans are fired up and the coach must find a good balance. When you talk about it too much, you need to also try to calm them down a little.

“All games must have balance. Then it’s down to my players’ performances and it’s up to me to correct them, I always send out players that are good to go.”

This will be the 68-year-old’s first Ligurian derby, so what is he expecting?

“Let me play one, and then I’ll let you know. From what I’ve heard, it’s a special game.

“But the difference with the others is that this one has elegance in the banter between the two sides’ fans.

“Let’s hope it’s a great derby and may the best team win. Let’s hope that both teams remain in Serie A.”

Blucerchiati fans are expected to flock to the team’s hotel to show them their support.

“They are incomparable. They accompany us throughout the game, then if they are not happy at the end, they whistle and make themselves heard.

“But for 95 minutes, they spur us on.”

Opposite number Thiago Motta is a former pupil of Ranieri, when the pair worked together at Inter.

“He follows the same philosophy as he did when he was a player.

“Genoa are a very attentive team when they’re in possession of the ball. Then they arrive with a lot of bodies in the penalty area.

“He is a coach with character, and he makes them play well. [At Inter] he was my point of reference.

“It was after the treble season at Inter. I haven’t spoken to him, I don’t have his number. We will greet each other on the pitch.”

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