Italian giants Juventus sack coach Ranieri

Juventus have ended Ranieri's two-year spell as coach with the Serie A club desperate for a third place finish.
Serie A giants Juventus have sacked coach Claudio Ranieri following a weekend that saw Inter Milan clinch a fourth successive Scudetto in Italy.

Former Chelsea chief Ranieri took charge of the Turin club in 2007 and Sunday’s 2-2 home draw with Atalanta left Juventus three points behind second-placed AC Milan with two games left. The club have now gone seven league matches without a win and Ranieri’s departure came in a Web site statement. “Juventus can announce the dismissal of coach Claudio Ranieri. From today the coaching of the first team will be entrusted to Ciro Ferrara,”. “Juventus would like to thank Claudio Ranieri for the job he has carried out over the past two years.”

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Former player Ferrara has been in charge of the club’s youth structure and it was not immediately clear whether his promotion was on a long-term basis or just for the rest of the current campaign. “I think the players need to understand that we’re in a tight spot. They need to rediscover the right motivation to tackle our last two matches with the right attitude,” said Ferrara. “The players need to rediscover their pride and the right motivation. I want to thank those who thought I could be useful at this time, I really appreciate that.” There had been mounting media speculation that Ranieri would be replaced at the end of the season. But weekend events prompted club hierarchy to act with Juve anxious for a third place finish and an automatic place in the Champions League group stage. General manager Jean Claude Blanc said the club had to act after Ranieri became the first Juve coach to be fired in 40 years. “It’s the standings which have changed. They (the players) must absolutely start doing things differently and as of tonight Cira Ferrara will be pushing them,” he tolf media. “The fourth-placed team (Fiorentina) are just a point behind us, we needed to jolt everyone into action and now it is the player’s responsibility. “We have two finals to play. We wanted to give ourselves the opportunity to change our destiny.”

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Ranieri, nicknamed ‘the Tinkerman’ at Chelsea for his habit for rotating his players, joined Juve after a successful, if brief, stint in charge of Parma, whom he helped save from relegation to Serie B in 2007. He left Stamford Bridge in 2005 after club owner Roman Abramovich turned to Jose Mourinho — and an unsuccessful spell as coach of Valencia followed.