Friday December 17 2010
Ranieri: 'No favourites in Shakhtar tie'

Claudio Ranieri claims there are no favourites in Roma's Last 16 tie with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Roma arguably got the easiest draw of the Italian sides still in the competition, but Ranieri is wary of the Ukrainian outfit who won the UEFA Cup in 2009.

"I don't have a favourite," Ranieri said. "I had no preference in the draw. Shakhtar are a good team who play good football with good individuality. It will be a beautiful game, seeing that we are equal in previous encounters.

"They have won five out of six games in the Champions League this year."

Looking ahead to Saturday's encounter with Milan, Ranieri said: "It's not the last train, but it's an important game for us. I always say that every one deserves what they get. If we are 10 points behind it's because we haven't repeated last season.

"We know that we have to work and do more. It will be an extra motivation to improve in 2011."

Asked how he intends to deal with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he replied: "We need a big cage to put him in. They have a wonderful system of play. We always have to be very very careful.

"Ibrahimovic doesn't play a lot in the middle. He plays a lot on the wings. He will be more on the right and alternate with Robinho on the left so the wide players will be more important than the central ones.

"I don't believe that Max Allegri is lucky to be in the Milan job. He has been given a chance and he is exploiting it well. It's a different Milan from the one we're used to seeing," he concluded.

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