Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri prepares for ‘two beautiful and terrible matches’ in a row, starting with Roma on Sunday.
The Blucerchiati face Paulo Fonseca’s Roma this weekend and the Giallorossi arrive after a 6-2 defeat to Manchester United in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.
Ranieri expects a Roma that are eager to bounce back against the Ligurians this weekend, but vowed his men will be ‘ready’ for the challenge.
“I didn’t expect such a result,” Ranieri said at a press conference. “Too bad, because they were playing really well.
“They put Manchester United under pressure and then it ended as it did. Now, they will want to redeem themselves, but we are ready.
“We want to play a great game with a lot of desire, with a lot of self-denial, because we need it and we have to be focused and determined.
“In my opinion, if it ended 2-1, 2-2 or 3-2, maybe they would have thought more about the second leg, as they will throw themselves into the game on Sunday. It’s normal and how we expect them to react.”
The former Roma coach has helped Sampdoria sit ninth after 33 games and want to confirm their place in the top half during the run-in.
“There’s just under a month left, we have five games, three at home and two away,” Ranieri continued.
“We are close to the finish line. As I always say: that’s where you see the horses, on the final straight. I’m pushing the lads to get 52 points; we don’t want to leave anything behind.
“We are doing good things, but for the evaluation, I want to wait until the end of the championship.”
Ranieri said the Blucerchiati aim to beat Roma on Sunday and keep Hellas Verona behind them in the table.
“As I have always said, we play to win every game,” Ranieri added. “I like the right balance, both when you win and lose.
“The team seems to me to be getting into my mood. After a match, they put it behind them. They analyse the things we did well and those done badly, as we always try to improve.”
Sampdoria arrive from a 1-0 defeat to Sassuolo last time and Ranieri felt his team seemed tired.
“We were perhaps a bit short of energy in the last part against Sassuolo,” he said. “Even though we tried hard to equalise the game.
“We came from three games in one week. Sassuolo too, but they are a more technical team that let’s the ball run, while we are the team that run.
“Returning from Crotone at three in the morning and then playing on Saturday was not fun, and we paid for that.”
After Roma, the Blucerchiati must prepare to face Inter at San Siro and Ranieri underlined that his men target 52 points and will not roll over.
“Two beautiful and terrible matches arrive,” he said. “Roma and Inter. We have to play the last five games with the serenity we have in Serie A, but with the desire, determination and anger to show that we never give up, that we don’t drop.
“We want to aim for 52 points and then we’ll see what happens.”