Roma coach Ranieri denies Totti problem

AFP, Saturday 15 Jan 2011

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri denied on Saturday that he has a problem with club captain Francesco Totti following a media backlash against the boss

Totti & Ranieri

Ranieri angered sections of the Italian media and some Roma fans by only bringing on club legend Totti during injury time in last week's 2-1 defeat at Sampdoria.

Italian media accused him of showing a lack of respect to Roma's most decorated son and suggested that one of the pair would have to leave the club.

But Ranieri insists they get on well.

"There has never been a Totti issue, I respect everyone's opinion but I instil in my players the principle of fighting right up to the referee's whistle," said the coach ahead of Sunday's trip to Cesena.

"The four minutes (of added time) that I gave the captain for me showed how much I think of a great player who could decide a match in any moment.

"I think highly of my captain, I've spoken with him, joked, smiled and coached, as ever.
"It's a choice I would do again tomorrow (Sunday) despite all the polemics created and the bad mood in the town.

"We have a centre-forward (Marco Borriello) who is scoring a lot of goals and so others are getting less of a look in but that's the normal running of a football club."

Although Roma lost at Sampdoria, they were leading 1-0 and dominating until a mistake from centre-back Juan let in Angelo Palombo to run in one-on-one with goalkeeper Julio Sergio, who rashly brought down the Italy midfielder, giving away a penalty and getting himself dismissed.

Nicola Pozzi stroked home the spot-kick and then Samp went on to grab a winner against the 10-men following another uncharacteristic error from Juan.

And Ranieri believes that despite the defeat his team played well, something that did not happen when they hosted Cesena in the first game of the season and were held to a 0-0 draw.

"Cesena caused us problems at home but I don't think much has changed since then, we need to be careful with their counter-attacks," added Ranieri.

"We're expecting a lot of fans in Cesena, we hope to do well and I would like to see the team play like they did in Genoa (against Samp) because other than the defeat it was one of our best performances of the season."

Roma sit fourth in Serie A and eight points behind leaders AC Milan.  

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