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Ranieri: "I'll be the coach until the end of the season, after that we'll see"

Coach Claudio Ranieri faced the media on Thursday morning to preview the weekend clash with Cagliari in Serie A.

The Giallorossi host the Sardinian side at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening, looking to grab a vital win in the race to finish in the top four in the league this season.

Read what Ranieri had to say during his press conference.

Roma come into this game with seven points gained and only one goal conceded in the last three matches. Is there a risk that might take your eye of the ball?
"I believe we need to respect all opponents. The lads are working hard and showing professionalism in order to fight for a place in the Champions League. There are lots of teams in the hunt and it would be stupid for us to underestimate this game. Cagliari never give up, they're having a great end to the season and they have excellent players. [Leonardo] Pavoletti is always the target man for every high ball. We'll need to show a lot of intelligence and focus."

Stephan El Shaarawy has reached double figures for goals and seems to have found some consistency. How do you rate his season?
"He's a conscientious lad. He does well in both phases - in defence he's producing some great diagonals and he's always reached double figures in terms of goals. He's made a massive contribution since he joined."

Does Edin Dzeko play better as a lone striker?
"He's a player that loves getting involved in the play. At San Siro we saw him in his natural habitat: dropping deep and providing a focal point for players. He can play with another player beside him, but they need to understand his play and get forward at the right time."

How is Javier Pastore? Can he start?
"I don't know whether he can play from the start, but he's been doing very well for a week or so. He's recovering quickly and he seems motivated."

Is Patrik Schick still in your plans?
"I'm convinced that he's a great player. Some players mature more quickly than others. He has everything he needs to become a top player."

Cengiz Under was taken off at half time against Inter: is his problem physical or tactical?
"It's a bit of both. When you play in that position you either cause problems for your opponent or your opponent causes problems for you. He's come back and he's training really well. I have high expectations of him."

Do you think you could be the coach of Roma next season?
"I see myself as the coach of Roma until the end of the season - then we'll see. They called me and I didn't have to think twice before accepting for this part of the season. That's it."

Nicolo Zaniolo and Bryan Cristante will be missing on Saturday. How much will that affect the balance of the team? How is Ante Coric?
"When regulars are missing it's possible that you lose a bit of fluidity in the play. That said, I hope that whoever comes in works extra hard and that the whole team makes up for the absentees. Coric is a good player. It's not easy to move country - this is the first time he's lived away from home - but he has good quality and just needs to adapt to Italian football."

Ahead of the Inter game, Luciano Spalletti said that play needs to start from the goalkeeper with the ball at his feet. That felt like he was criticising your philosophy - what did you make of that?
"I think it depends on the team and on the qualities and characteristics of the players. Everyone can play football how they wish. The good thing about this sport is that nothing is for certain - everyone can play their own game. Football is a simple game: it's players and coaches that make it difficult."

Cagliari are one of the best sides in the league in terms of set plays. Will you mark man-to-man or zonally?
"I usually prefer man-to-man marking, but you always need to look at the players you have in your team. That's why I've marked zonally at times, but that requires lots of attention."

How is Diego Perotti?
"He's training very well and has recovered, but he doesn't have 90 minutes in him yet."

Alessio Cragno and Nicolo Barella have both been linked with Roma. Would you like to coach them next year?
"They're both great players and I'm sure they'll have bright futures with the national team. I can't think about next year - I can only focus on the Cagliari game."
Thursday April 25, 2019
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