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Ranieri: The system is less important than the attitude of the guys

Coach Claudio Ranieri held his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning at Trigoria, as he took questions ahead of Saturday's Serie A meeting with SPAL.

The game in Ferrara gets underway at 18:00 local time and, with another full day to prepare for the match, Ranieri took questions from the media about the contest.

The match at the Stadio Paolo Mazza will be Ranieri's second in charge, after Monday night's 2-1 win over Empoli.

What have you learned from the Empoli game - and a couple more training sessions with the team?

“The team has responded well enough to my initial requests. I know I can’t ask for much more – they’re used to playing in a certain way and when things change in these circumstances not everything can happen the way I’d like. I’m seeing a good level of willingness and concentration in terms of them doing the things I’m asking.”

What system do you need to play to get Edin Dzeko and Patrik Schick on the pitch together?

“It’s not about the system. The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your position and do your best. The system isn’t very important – what counts is that the team is compact and balanced.”

How are Aleksandar Kolarov and Nicolo Zaniolo doing?

“I have to look at them today and tomorrow. Kolarov and Zaniolo haven’t trained with the group yet. I don’t know whether to use them or not.”

With Alessandro Florenzi suspended, is Rick Karsdorp the natural replacement or could Davide Santon come in on the right?

“Both are valid options. First of all I need to see if Kolarov is available, however.”

If you play Dzeko and Schick together, will you go with less attacking wide players?

“I will make my decisions based on the fitness of the players available and the opposition we’re facing. I have to take all of these factors into account to create a balanced team.”

How is Federico Fazio? Is he one of your key players?

“For me, he is a key player. Footballers aren’t machines – they can go through bad spells. He’s an intelligent player who is good at reading the play and I’m convinced that he can perform well. He trained yesterday and will train again today.”

Are the players afraid of getting injured?

“We need to be alert: if they’re getting injured and are anxious by nature we need to be alert. Zaniolo didn’t have anything wrong with his calf – he took a knock on the ankle, which isn’t at 100%, and that’s causing him problems when running.

"Coming from outside and getting to know the players’ physical problems, I’ll move forward with my work programme, keeping an eye on the players with small problems to make sure they don’t become big problems.”

How is Cengiz Under?

“Right now he’s continuing to work on his recovery plan. He won’t go away on international duty, which is a positive. I hope to have him back after the international break.”

You’ve mentioned the importance of the players having no fear a lot. Does the team have a psychological issue?

“The expectations around Roma are high. When I joined the team was coming off the back of two consecutive defeats, with lots of players out. The players that came in didn’t have anyone to look up to and weren’t used to playing together. My message to them is to play without fear and be free of those issues.”

How important will it be to keep things tight and cut off the supply to Andrea Petagna?

“I’ve watched the first game against SPAL and the others that SPAL have played this season. They’re very strong when it comes to attacking with pace. We need to be focused, alert and compact.”

Were you expecting the situation to be like this when you came in? Do you feel like some players are using Roma as a stepping stone?

“I was aware of the situation here. I don’t think that players feel like they’re just passing through – and even if they did feel like that they would be giving even more, because if they do well here other teams will be interested in signing them. I want to see the players’ desire to show what they can do – that’s important.”

 
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