Ranieri refuses to give up
Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri has vowed not to hide from the pressure building on his position despite yesterday's second-half fightback against Catania.
I Nerazzurri came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to draw 2-2, with goals from Diego Forlan and Diego Milito ending a five-match losing run in all competitions. But they remain winless in nine and lie seventh in Serie A, 11 points behind Lazio in the final UEFA Champions League place.
Ranieri's substitutions, particularly the half-time introduction of Wesley Sneijder, made an impact, but captain Javier Zanetti questioned the withdrawal of Esteban Cambiasso, who was reduced to tears by the crowd's response. "You'd have to ask the coach whether it was the right decision to replace someone who has won so much," Zanetti told the Inter Channel. "If Ranieri makes his choices, there must be a reason."
Zanetti also credited goalkeeper Julio Cesar for the inspirational team talk at half-time. But Ranieri said on the club's website: "It was an important reaction. This is a team that doesn't give up and we'll fight on. Thank goodness I have champions in the changing rooms who were able to look each other in the face and react.
"At the end of the first half I didn't feel like I was on the way out, I never have in my career. I have had a lot of pressure but there's no point in burying your head in the sand. A coach must stick by his team for better or for worse.
"Clouds don't only descend on the coach, they descend on the whole of Inter. President [Massimo] Moratti made it very clear, we are all in the dock and I'm not interested in Ranieri, I'm trying to do my best for the team.
"It's a shame that a club and a president that have done so much and have achieved so much come under criticism in their first bad season, but we must be above this. We must accept the boos and the applause. Can we still think about coming third? For now, we have to concentrate on winning to get on track again, and only on that."
Ranieri insists he is still planning for the long term, and said: "They proposed two years [when I arrived] and I'm happy with that; then we'll see. I hope I'll stay here as long as possible even if, like husbands, we're always the last to know. I think the president has confidence in me and I just concentrate on my work."