Ranieri: "We won’t give up, not one of us"

NAPLES – “We knew that Napoli were on a high after the victory over
Chelsea, and that they would come at us. They played well and we let in a goal
on the break from a lost ball in midfield. After they went up there were seven
minutes in which Napoli were very lively, then we got charged up again but we
couldn’t do it.” Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Claudio Ranieri analysed
Inter’s defeat this evening at the Stadio San Paolo; the fourth consecutive KO
that leaves the Nerazzurri in seventh place in the standings and therefore far
away from third place. The coach continued: “Everything is done one step
at a time, but now we must start winning again and find a goal, because now
we’re not even managing to do that. Just think of Pazzini’s header tonight that
didn’t go in.”

What would Ranieri do if he were president Moratti? “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the president. If I were him I’d stick with Ranieri, but I’m not him so you’ll have to ask him. I can’t answer for the president, so it’s better to ask me questions on what I would do. If you ask me if I’m taking a step backwards I’ll tell you no. I’m not resigning because I believe in these lads and in this team, and that’s that.”

As it has happened before, there were two changes tonight that the Nerazzurri coach decided on at the end of the first half: “We have some difficulties that we’ve outlined many times. I always try to bring out the best in my players. I fielded the men who had done very well in Marseille, but I saw that tonight in the first half that we couldn’t keep the ball and that Napoli were attacking on the flanks. So I took off two players, two who had done well in the Champions League on Wednesday, in order to try to at least safeguard the flanks.”

The forwards receive few balls, but “it’s not the fault of Sneijder or of anybody else. It’s that in certain circumstances we struggle and tonight that’s what happened. This black February is finished, and we hope that from Napoli to Napoli this cycle is over, and that now we can get out of this situation because these lads are giving their all.”

Ranieri continued to Mediaset Premium: “I can’t recall ever having a month like this in my career. It’s a year of transition, but we still have work to do, to start scoring again, to win, to go forward in the Champions League and climb in the standings. The opposing goal right now seems cursed. We must stay united and resolute, but I can’t blame these lads for anything when it comes to commitment. We have to ride this out and it will pass. The boys are trying with all their strength. I ask the team once again not to give up, but it is normal to lose self-esteem when things go badly for you. Now it’s a challenge for us to pull ourselves out of this situation.”

To Rai Sport, the Nerazzurri coach insisted on the concept: “I’m not giving up and neither are these lads.”

In the press conference Ranieri said that: “It’s not the most difficult phase of my career, but certainly it’s the strangest one and I don’t think it’s ever happened to the lads to have suffered this many consecutive defeats either. Sooner or later this period will pass. It must pass. Until now we were determined to do well, and we still must continue this way; it’s a matter of principle because if you give up now you’re finished. At this moment we’re in difficulty. We’re not trying to pretend it’s something that it’s not and we’re not clinging to bad luck, but it’s a fact that this is a bad moment. The others are quicker and more decisive than we are. We’re in an intermediate stage. In Europe we’re even with everyone else, but in Italy, where everyone lines up behind the ball, we’re struggling. How do I feel about my position? Excellent, solid. If you ask me I think it’s fine. What would I say if I were the president? I repeat: I am not the president.”

Finally, speaking to Inter Channel, Claudio Ranieri concluded by sharing a hope: “We hoped that this horrible moment would end tonight, again in Naples where it started, but it wasn’t to be. Did they make me angry in the first interviews after the match? No, but if I get asked questions regarding how I would respond if I were president, you have to understand that I cannot answer for him. We need to start again from two things: coming back from this terrible series of defeats, and then to think game by game. Forget about third place. Let’s go into a match and win it. The injured players? We’ll evaluate things on Tuesday. Maicon is better off than he seemed, and for the others we’ll see if they can start training with us.”

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