Ranners' Rants - Liverpool (h)

Last updated : 08 January 2004 By Liam Corbett
Rumour has it Sven paid a visit to Claudio's office to say hello, but may be it was for something else. Curtain measurements? Colour scheme?

And if good old Claudio wants to stay in that office, we gotta start performing on the pitch.

A glance in the transfer window? An untimatum to the players?

Whatever he plans to do has to be done soon.

After yet another defeat, this time at home to Liverpool, it was after 11.00pm when Claudio Ranieri finally appeared in the post-match press conference.

So what did he have to say? ......

“Unfortunately this period for us is not good. But I said to my players ‘well done’ because they gave their maximum tonight. Everybody isn’t in the best condition but everybody played like a team. It wasn’t good but I am very pleased when my players try to do their maximum.

“Tonight we showed good character. I am pleased with this. It’s too easy to say: ‘Well done guys, today we won.’ Tonight we lost but we played our best and I am pleased with this.

“I am not worried about this run. Of course, I am not happy but there isn’t a team who can stay at the high level for 11 months.”

Asked to explain Chelsea’s current nose-dive, the head coach suggested:

“Football is strange. In the last month, Chelsea played well only against Besiktas and Fulham. In the other matches, we haven’t played very well. Tonight we played better than against Bolton and other matches but Liverpool scored first. It was difficult before the goal and more difficult after the goal.”

“When we were at the top of the League, I said it’s not important now. We must continue to build. It’s easy for me to say that I want to fight for the title but it’s not true. I am fighting to build a team.

With the transfer window open, he was asked whether he needed to strengthen his squad even more.

“No. We need only to go through this bad period,” came the firm reply.

Under-fire Houllier was delighted with the victory.

“Chelsea is a great side, a good team, a technical side. They have good skill, good talent. They are playing at home. Look at the record of Liverpool here. So you need to have a plan. Particularly if you stretch, they can play, they can construct. I think we kept the two lines rather tight.

“We knew we had to frustrate them. There’s some games where we play extremely well and don’t get anything out of the game. Today maybe was an ugly win but a very good win all the same.

“It was a great goal, good movement. After the goal we survived for a couple of chances they had. Second-half it was a matter of winning the battle.

“I know they’re going through a bad patch themselves and I’ve got some sympathy for Claudio at the moment but we made them look ordinary. They probably ran out of ideas.”

So what now? No Seba Veron, no Duffman, no Crespo and Mutu couldn't hit a cow's behind with a shovel.

Its not looking too good & for the first real time this season, as well as looking up at Arsenal and Man United, we may start to look down at Charlton and Liverpool.