Ranieri will start French adventure from scratch

Nantes manager Claudio Ranieri taking charge of training with his new squad. The Italian has a task on his hands to revive the fortunes of the sleeping French giants, who have flattered to deceive in recent seasons.
Nantes manager Claudio Ranieri taking charge of training with his new squad. The Italian has a task on his hands to revive the fortunes of the sleeping French giants, who have flattered to deceive in recent seasons.PHOTO: REUTERS

NANTES (France) • Claudio Ranieri insists his incredible achievements at Leicester City count for nothing, now that he has taken over at sleeping French giants Nantes, where he was unveiled as their new coach on Monday.

"I have missed being out on the pitch. But we must forget what I did at Leicester. What we achieved there was unique. It is not the same here," said the 65-year-old at a press conference.

The reigning Best Fifa Football Coach signed a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 side, returning to management for the first time since his sacking in February.

He was dismissed by Leicester less than a year after leading them to a fairy tale Premier League title triumph last year.

He is familiar with the French League, having guided Monaco to second place behind Paris Saint-Germain in 2014.

Nantes are historically one of France's most successful sides, but they last won the title in 2001 and have often struggled in the years since. They finished seventh last term and will miss out on European football next season.

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

What I experienced (at Leicester) there was fantastic. The motivation is still strong... my passion and love for football is still there.

CLAUDIO RANIERI , Nantes manager, does not bear any grudges towards Leicester for his sacking.

"Nantes have already won eight titles and I am very honoured to be here. It is very important to be humble but to maintain the conviction that we can do something good," added Ranieri, who said he was not scarred by his sacking. "No. What I experienced there was fantastic.

"The motivation is still strong. If I continue to work as a coach, it is because my passion and love for football, for the players, is still there."

The Italian is keen to build on the Canaries' best league finish since 2004 .

"The team played well, they were very compact, well organised. I am very curious to see what they can do with me," he added.

"We are going to work very hard."

His competitive debut for Nantes will be away to Lille in early August.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2017, with the headline 'Ranieri will start French adventure from scratch'. Print Edition | Subscribe