Claudio Ranieri made a direct appeal to the supporters after taking over as Roma Coach. “At the end of the day, the ones who really suffer are us fans.”
The tactician, a lifelong Giallorossi supporter, was drafted in today to replace sacked Eusebio Di Francesco until the end of the season.
It has been a chaotic 24 hours for the club, who also parted company with director of sport Monchi and practically all the fitness staff.
“It means so much for me to return to Roma, it means everything,” Ranieri told Roma TV.
“I have always been a fan, I’ve been a player and a Coach here. It had been a long time since I’ve been unable to sleep, but last night after finding out it could be me, I couldn’t sleep. That’s a good sign. I was too happy.
“My Romanness ties me to Roma, from San Saba to Testaccio and playing in the streets. Roma was in my DNA. My whole football life is tied to Roma.
“When I was a player at Catania, we had the play-off in Rome, so before stepping out into the stadium, I made them play Antonello Venditti’s club anthem to fire up the team. Everything ties me to Roma.”
He had his first training session at Trigoria today, but it was his first time here since leaving the club in February 2011.
“It was a long, but wonderful day. When you do things with pleasure, you don’t feel pain. I found that many things have changed at Trigoria.
“I have certainly changed too. When I started out 32 years ago, football was a different sport. If I have been called in by Roma, it means I’ve kept up to date. I never lose the desire to improve and I am a better Coach now than I was two years ago.”
Among the reasons for choosing Ranieri is his status as a Roma supporter, which the club hopes will help heal some of the divides with their fanbase.
“The fans want the players to feel the importance of the jersey. I ask them to give everything, as that is what matters. The first aspect we have to work on is psychological, because after two defeats and a Champions League elimination, they’ll be wrecked.
“I try to tie football to life and remind them we are fortunate, we are paid to do something we love. This is why we’ve got to give our all and be ourselves all the way.
“The fans are passionate, so it’s logical they are unsatisfied with the results, but if they see the team fighting and giving its all, they appreciate the effort. That is the main aspect I will work on.
“After this long day, I already spoke to the team and asked them for certain things.
“I want to tell the fans, this is a special time. In 12 rounds, we are gambling with our future. We have the chance to get back into the Champions League.
“The lads are sensitive, some are young and not yet accustomed to dealing with such a high-profile club and pressure of the environment. They struggle to play with clear heads.
“I ask the fans to support them, encourage them even during the difficult moments, in fact especially during the difficult moments, because at the end of the day, the ones who really suffer are us fans.”
Ranieri was fired by Fulham only 11 days ago, but “could not say no” to his beloved Roma, returning to the Olimpico after almost a decade.
Welcome back to the Giallorossi, Claudio!
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) March 8, 2019