Ranieri expects memorable spectacle

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri is expecting a ‘beautiful game’ when his side takes on Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Roma will be hoping to put a poor run of form in the Serie A behind them when they host the Ukrainian side in the round-of-16 first leg at the Stadio Olimpico.

Shakhtar qualified for the knockout stages at the top of Group H, and with a strong Brazilian influence in Mircea Lucescu’s side, Ranieri is expecting the match to be an impressive spectacle.

“I expect a beautiful game tomorrow against a very good side,” Ranieri said.

“Shakhtar are a great team and those that thought that this was a good draw for us will no doubt reconsider.”

“This is a difficult season. But we have to think of tomorrow’s game and make amends for our defeat at the weekend.”

“We have struggled defensively and this is something we have to improve on.”

Roma have slid to eighth in the Serie A after defeats to Inter Milan and Napoli in the last fortnight.

But Ranieri refuted rumours of a rift between him and his players, saying the squad was committed to fighting out the remainder of the season.

“The coach is like the husband, he is the last to know,” Ranieri said. “But this is just Roman gossip done for the love of the team.”

“I always have enthusiasm because the players give it to me. I asked my players that if I was the problem then I would leave but they said ‘No’.”

“We want to fight and we will do so until the end.”