Ranieri's Methods and Beliefs

In 2007, the Italian football coaches' association's own paper L'Allenatore visited Claudio Ranieri at Juve's training ground for four days to talk about his work as a coach, his methods and views on football. It is not a blueprint to understanding how Roma will play and work under his command, and some things which he states in the interview as preferences took less than an hour in Trigoria to be contradicted, as with the double practice sessions. But it gives insight into his view on football, even if his pragmatism changes minor things around, just as he stated in his first press conference today.

"Juve's work methods are very diverse from the norm of the Italian teams. This is the result of Ranieri's international experiences, the French beliefs of his assistant Damiano and an approach to physical training that is totally out of the ordinary.  Here summarised a few interesting aspects that differ from what we normally encounter in Italy:
  
1. Technical work in great quantities as well as of great quality.
2. Mostly morning practices, and never double practice sessions.
3. Tactical work which is not confusing, and filled with theme plays.
4. Flexible system of play based on the players available.
5. Priority to the team's own play, and little concern for the opponent's.
6. Brief (at most 75/80 minutes) and intense practice sessions.

Ranieri's staff is composed of the assistant coach Christian Damiano, the athletic coaches Professors Riccardo Capanna and Andrea Scanavio, goalkeeping coach Giorgio Pellizzaro, and Paolo Benetti.

Ranieri talked himself about football from all angles: 
'One of the aspects we attend to a lot is the individual technique, either in isolated form or during the run of play. For this I hand things over to my assistant, Mr. Damiano, who applies the French method of the Clairefontaine school. In Italy we're too fixated on tactics, we need to work more on the technique of the players in relation to their role on the pitch. In Spain, too, practice is always done with the ball, while in England more emphasis is given to the intensity of play. We're looking to do a part of the physical work using the ball.

Tactically I'm not bound to one sole system of play, on the contrary I look for the system most suitable for the characteristic of my players. Lately I've drawn up a defense of four, but in the past I have also played with five defenders.

It's fundamental to defend as a team, forming a compact block in which also the attackers take part, to shorten the formation. I don't ask for any particular movement of the attackers to pressure the opponents, but I want them to fall in line with their team mates while defending.
Offensively, I start with the characteristics of the players at my disposal and not a set formation, and for this we practice the so called shadow games (11 v 0) a bit.

In general I don't like to harass the players with tactics, and prefer brief but frequent reviews of what there is to improve upon.

I try to speak little about the opposing team and worry more about my own, most of all to instill an active mentality. I don't like basing the game on the opposition, and especially in the offensive phase I look to enjoy the qualities of the individual.

Then if there's a need to change something during the course of the game, we're in a position to adopt other formations because we aren't so rigid.

The first practice in a typical week with no cup play is on Tuesday afternoon, then Wednesday morning, two days of recharging. Thursday morning we unload and sometimes I throw together a game of one hour with the primavera team, using the players who didn't play in the previous game. Friday morning and Saturday morning (where I try to include set pieces as well) are more tactical and less intense. I prefer holding practice in the mornings, when the players' biorhythm are more regular. And also because this way they have the entire afternoon to recuperate and be with their families. I picked up this habit in Spain, accepting a request the Valencia players made to me.

I never let it be understood who will play and who will sit out of a game because I want everyone to be ready, so I always play my cards close to the chest. Even when we're practicing set pieces I mix the players and play them 11 v 11. I am convinced that championships are won thanks to those who play less often, and these players can never feel like they are reserves, or worse yet, cut by the coach.

When coaching outside of Italy it is counterproductive to immediately impose the Italian method, you rather need to try to identify the culture and habits of the country you're in and modify a bit as you go. It is also important to understand local uses and habits, because football is an expression of a people's culture, and that cannot be ignored.'*
Mr. Damiano is Ranieri's assistant coach, but in reality he is the one responsible for technique, and is a passionate expert. One of the things that stands out in Juve is the great quality and quantity of work on individual technique, custom designed for different roles. Damiano explains the importance, and the functions, of the French school of Clairefontaine and his principles of work:

'First of all, technique is always used in difficult situations, through obstacles, poles and cones. But even more importantly, technique is used in plays taken from a real game, in space dedicated to a player's own role and with specific inherent moves. Each player adheres to technical moves that he can and will perform in a real game, and the players connect with each other to always conclude with a finish on goal.

The days in which technical work are dominant are the first of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday), and then the physical uncharging on Thursday, while Friday and Saturday are more tactical.

We've come to the conclusion that this technical work enhances the confidence of the players and gives them initiative and enthusiasm. The habit of often kicking a ball makes the players pursue playing the ball more, and a flavor for getting the ball. The technical work has a noted effect on the player, physically too.'"
* Am I the only one who thought of Juve and their at times very dour and unimaginative, result oriented style of play last year when reading the part about football expressing a people's culture?