Ranieri delighted to be back in the game

Ligue 1 Conforama > Interviews

Less than six months after being sacked by Leicester City, Claudio Ranieri returned to the dugout last weekend at the helm of FC Nantes. Despite his losing start, the likeable Italian is delighted to be back in the saddle.

Eight-time French champions Nantes suffered a torrid time in Lille, with LOSC running out 3-0 winners to leave Les Canaris in the bottom three after the opening round of fixtures, but the evergreen Italian coach couldn't hide his delight at being back in the game nevertheless.

'I feel good'

"I feel good, Claudio is good. New challenge, I'm very happy," he told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. "[Nantes are a] good club, they've won eight titles in their history. The club represents the city and the fans are very passionate and warm. I hope they can help us throughout the season."

"Now is the first year and then we have to start, to build the foundations to see which players understand my philosophy."

Watch: Highlights of Nantes' opening day loss to LOSC

The 2015-16 English Premier League champion is commencing his 17th job in management, having started his coaching career back in 1986. Indeed, the passionate Italian has barely had a break in 31 years yet he insists his determination and hunger remain intact.

"When I'm without a job I don't relax, I relax only when I'm on the job," he continued. "In this moment I relax, when I have a team, when I can work every day then I can relax. I relax in this way, this is my life. I love my job. I'm a very passionate man."

'Football is my life!'

"Every moment I have free I'm always thinking about football. It's my life! Everything is football for me. Yes, family is family, but my family understands my job, my passion, my hobby. I can't live without my job. For me it's important to have a good feeling with the club, with the players, with the staff, with the fans, with the chairman. That is important for me. I motivate my players but I need people who motivate me."

Ranieri faces a tough task. The Canaries were flying last season under Sérgio Conceiçao, securing a seventh-place finish before the tactician returned to his native Portugal to take the FC Porto job. It was Nantes' best finish in 13 years, and expectations are, perhaps unsurprisingly, quite high on the Atlantic coast.

"I believe we can do a good season. I'm very curious because last season the first half of the season was so bad [Nantes were 17th at Christmas]. The second half was fantastic, so I want to discover what is the real Nantes. I want pressure, I live with pressure. My goal is to try to equal, and maybe improve a little bit on the last season."

Potent strikeforce

Emiliano Sala and Préjuce Nakoulma combined for 18 goals and four assists last season, even though the latter only signed from Turkish outfit Kayserispor in the winter transfer window. If Nantes are to finish in the top six, Ranieri will need his front two to carry forward their form from the previous campaign.

"I like this kind of attack. Nakoulma last season he arrived and played 11 matches and scored 8 goals. Sala in the last three seasons he scored six, six and 12 last season. The players are very, very committed and I am satisfied with this kind of player. I'm very satisfied."

>> COACH PROFILE: Claudio Ranieri


>> FEATURE PREVIEW: Ranieri awaits new signings as Nantes face OM

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