what did you miss: ranieri happy to be back with roma

06:30    10 Mar 2019

Claudio Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri says he is delighted to be back with Roma, after being confirmed as the replacement for Eusebio di Francesco.

The latter was axed by the Italian giants following a week in which his side lost the Rome derby against Lazio 3-0 and suffered elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Porto.

The 67-year-old Ranieri has a strong emotional connection with the club: he was born in Rome, started his professional playing career with the Giallorossi in the 1970s and managed the team from 2009 to 2011.

“It means so much for me to return to Roma, it means everything," Ranieri, who was recently dismissed by Premier League club Fulham, told Roma TV.

“I have always been a fan, I've been a player and a coach here. It had been a long time since I've been unable to sleep, but last night after finding out it could be me, I couldn't sleep. That's a good sign. I was too happy.

“My Romanness ties me to Roma, from San Saba to Testaccio and playing in the streets. Roma was in my DNA. My whole football life is tied to Roma.

“When I was a player at Catania, we had the play-off in Rome, so before stepping out into the stadium, I made them play Antonello Venditti's club anthem to fire up the team. Everything ties me to Roma."

He continued: “It was a long, but wonderful day. When you do things with pleasure, you don't feel pain. I found that many things have changed at Trigoria.

“I have certainly changed too. When I started out 32 years ago, football was a different sport. If I have been called in by Roma, it means I've kept up to date. I never lose the desire to improve and I am a better coach now than I was two years ago.”

Ranieri’s first match in charge will be a Serie A clash at home to Empoli on Monday night.

Helmut Marko: Red Bull to win at least five races

Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko believes the team will win “at least five races” in the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Red Bull showed strong form in Barcelona testing last week, though two crashes for Pierre Gasly – which Marko described as "unnecessary" – cost them precious development time and makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly where they are in the pace pecking order.

However, Marko remains confident that RB will enjoy more wins this season, their first with Honda engined, than the three they claimed last year with Renault power.

"Ferrari are favourite," Marko explained in an interview with Germany's Motorsport-Magazin.

"Ferrari were quick as if they had already done a test for a week [beforehand]. We were on the back foot due to Gasly's two accidents and the resulting loss of time.

"We brought things that did not fully develop due to Gasly's crashes. Especially the second crash which was completely unnecessary. [He] must clearly show more discipline!"

Marko added: "We will win at least five races."

However, he admitted that Red Bull need to challenge to a greater degree on the faster tracks and not only on street-style circuits, where their superb downforce and chassis give them an edge.

"The tracks on which we are competitive need to be broader,” Marko said.

When asked to predict where they stand heading to the opening race of the 2019 season in Melbourne next weekend, he replied: "It's hard to say, but we think we're between Ferrari and Mercedes.”

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