Ranieri: “I’m expecting a hard-fought game – we need to show heart”

Claudio Ranieri has called on his Sampdoria team to put their heart and soul into their performance against Genoa in the Derby della Lanterna on Saturday night.

“We’re lost our last three but we won’t cry about that,” said Ranieri, speaking in his pre-match press conference on Thursday. “We know it’s a big game for everyone. We’re up against a team that has already bought into the philosophy of its coach, but we’ll try to play our game, be focused and show heart – as our fans always do.”

Ranieri acknowledged that both teams are coming into the fixture in a tricky position in the table.

“Both teams are navigating in choppy waters, but these games are a leveller – it doesn’t matter if you’re in good form or bad form or where you are in the table,” said the coach. “A win would definitely give us a boost. It will be a hard-fought, difficult, physical game and we’ll need to play to the best of our potential. Thiago Motta has the same philosophy as a coach that he had as a player: one or two touches maximum, moving the ball quickly. I think he has character. He was already a coach on the pitch when I had him at Inter.”

Ranieri has been involved in many different derbies over the years, but Saturday will be his first taste of the Genoa derby.

“Let me experience it first and then I’ll tell you how I felt,” he said. “I can certainly say that from the outside this game has always been really intriguing. I’ve always seen it as a game with a lot of rivalry and sportsmanship on the pitch and in the stands, which is something I’ve always liked.”

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