Ranieri won't talk about Mourinho

BY foxsports • March 26, 2010

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri would not be drawn on Inter Milan counterpart Jose Mourinho ahead of the teams' vital Serie A clash on Saturday but claims all the pressure is on the Nerazzurri.

The pair have indulged in verbal spats ever since Mourinho took over at Inter while Ranieri was at Juventus before moving on to the Stadio Olimpico.

Ranieri could be forgiven if he were to bear a grudge as it was the Portuguese who replaced him at Chelsea after he was sacked by Blues owner Roman Abramovich in May 2004.

This has been the fifth match where Mourinho has refused to speak to the press beforehand but, when asked if he had a message to send to the Inter boss, Ranieri said: "No, see you tomorrow and we will talk tomorrow."

Saturday's match is vital for both teams. Inter hold a four-point lead at the top of the table although it is Roma who are on better form with their midweek 2-0 win over Bologna lifting them level on points with AC Milan in third.

Ranieri continued: "It's beautiful to see Roma playing the match of the year with eight games remaining.

"This means my men have worked very well.

"It will be a wonderful game. We hope we can celebrate at the end."

The 58-year-old believes the teams are "totally different", describing Inter as a "battleship".

He said: "I expect an aggressive Inter, with different systems of play, a great team, very compact, always short, very strong on the counter-attack, strong set-pieces."

The former Valencia boss was also happy to heap pressure on the visitors.

On being asked who had most to lose, Ranieri was unequivocal, saying: "Inter. It is they who must retain the Scudetto. They are the strongest team."

The Giallorossi have lost just twice in Rome this season, their last defeat dating back to October 25 when they fell 1-0 to Livorno.

Francesco Totti announced earlier this week he had recovered from his knee injury and he has been included in the squad for the game.

A 3-0 triumph over Livorno in midweek ended a three-match winless streak for Mourinho's Inter.

"We are enjoying our current position in the standings and we hope we will play a great match in Rome," said Inter president Massimo Moratti.

"We go into this match in good condition. We have overcome our psychological and physical block as seen against Livorno."

However, Mourinho's impasse with striker Mario Balotelli shows no sign of being bridged with the 19-year-old forward omitted from the squad for the fourth consecutive game.

His already-strained relationship with Mourinho took another turn for the worse earlier this week when the teenager was pictured wearing an AC Milan shirt he was given on an Italian television show.

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