Claudio Ranieri`s job safe says Greek federation

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 04, 2014, 11:36 AM IST
Claudio Ranieri`s job safe says Greek federation

The Greek football federation Monday denied media reports that it has lost confidence in national coach Claudio Ranieri.

"There is no problem of collaboration with Mr. Claudio Ranieri. Anything written or spoken in the media or rumoured bears no relation to reality," a statement by the federation said.

The federation added that Ranieri "continues to work hard and systematically for the success of the national team with a view to qualification of our team to the 2016 European Championships in France."

In an interview with Greek television station NERIT on Monday, the 63-year-old coach -- who replaced Fernando Santos after the Portuguese left following the World Cup finals in July -- said he was surprised with his team`s poor start in the Euro qualifiers so far.

Home losses to Romania (1-0) and Northern Ireland (2-0) and a 1-1 draw with Finland have left the Greeks with just one point in the group.

"I honestly did not expect such a start from the team," said Ranieri.

"I knew it would be difficult. But I want my players on the pitch to give everything and give their maximum capabilities. I want my players to eat grass," added the Italian, who has a two year contract.

Ranieri has come under heavy criticism from the Greek media for the poor results so far.

Last month the federation appointed former captain Giorgos Karagounis to act as liaison between Ranieri and the players in order to help bridge a communication gap.

Ranieri has a lot to live up to in terms of his predecessors successes.

Santos had taken the team for the first time in their history to the last 16 of the World Cup finals, and prior to that to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, while before that German Otto Rehhagel guided Greece to a surprising Euro 2004 title.

Ranieri was sacked by Monaco in May and had very little time to gain knowledge of the Greek players and it showed with the immediate loss to Romania.

Ranieri led Monaco to second place in Ligue 1 in 2013 and also had spells with Chelsea, Serie A clubs Inter Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina, Juventus, Roma and Parma as well as Spanish outfits Atletico Madrid and Valencia.