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Sep 18, 2010

Ranieri hits back at critics

Roma boss Claudio Ranieri has used his weekly press conference to deliver a speech attacking the media.

Captain Francesco Totti said after this week's 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League that the catenaccio approach adopted had been ill-advised, and it was reported in the press that the pair were feuding.

It has also been suggested that Ranieri, 58, could lose his job despite guiding Roma to second in Serie A last season as well as the Coppa Italia final.

Taking no questions from the media, Football Italia quotes Ranieri as saying: "This time I will begin and I will finish, seeing as I have heard so much and want to tell the truth to the fans. As you know, I am very clear and fair with everyone and in everything.

"There are things that are not going well, such as the results and the performance. It's not an issue of playing defensive or attacking football, as we wanted to play to win, just as we always have.

"We lost 5-1 at Cagliari. The coach takes the responsibility and I have never shied from that in my career, let alone at my home club, where I am the number one fan.

"I read that Totti was against me. Nothing more absurd has ever been written. I already said last season that this is a locker room full of healthy, intelligent people who want to do their best. Sometimes they achieve it, sometimes they don't.

"I have a fair and honest rapport with all my players, so imagine if that wasn't the case with my captain. He has been here a lifetime, suffered a thousand injuries for his team. I am Roman and Romanista, do you think I of all people wouldn't understand him?

"I am their leader, I am their coach. Everything I do, I do for Roma, whether it goes well or not.

"It's too easy to talk with the benefit of hindsight. Too easy. I do things beforehand based on all the information I have and what happens during the week. It's too easy for you lot afterwards.

"Last season when I arrived you said this team was too old and couldn't handle it anymore. You hurled mud on this side. These lads allowed you to dream all year. This season we wanted to start at 1,000 miles per hour, but for a series of factors we haven't been able to.

"I don't want alibis and I don't need them. We want to give more and we know that. We won over the fans because we gave everything in every second of every game. We won, lost, played well or badly, but we fought.

"We didn't want to be embarrassed in Munich, but the game wasn't all bad, as we had more chances in the first half. We got it wrong after the break and I take responsibility.

"I will not accept these insults. This team has balls and will prove it. I won't name names on the mud-slingers, but we will remember you. You say, "Ranieri only knows 4-4-2". What do you know of me or my career, where I won with many different systems?

"Whenever a side loses, it's too easy to look to who didn't play. This is like a sports bar conversation."

Slamming his fist on his desk, he added: "We've got to look at reality! You're all, 'Ooh, why isn't Fabio Simplicio playing?' He had an injury and only started training in August. He'll be useful to Roma, but his time will come.

"I would like to talk about Bologna, as we all know it's a difficult game against a side who clam up and go on the counter. We're going through a tough time and in my 20-year career I've been through 3,000 of them. Do you think I always sat on the bench smoking a cigar?

"This team fights hard and proved it last season when nobody believed in us. Our fans will be with us, because we want to give them what we shared last year.

"We're starting with a handicap, just as we did last season, and just as we got back then we will get back now. I tell you this and I underline it. Goodbye and thank you."

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