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Anorak | Claudio Hanging Over Blues

Claudio Hanging Over Blues

by | 22nd, March 2004

‘CHELSEA lie second in the Premiership with the fifth highest points total at this stage of the season ever, as well as being in the quarter-final of the Champions’ League.

Out!

At the weekend, they beat neighbours Fulham for their 20th league win of the season.

But once again, all the talk in the papers is about the future of manager Claudio Ranieri, the popular Italian who has been undermined at every turn by the Stamford Bridge board.

“What’s new?” shrugged Ranieri, when asked about it by the Express. “I’ve been in this position since Eriksson visited Abramovich, so I can’t see what changes there are in the situation.”

The Mail says the sacking of Ranieri will provoke dismay among Chelsea fans, but the man himself seems resigned to his fate.

“Even an unlikely Champions’ League triumph against Arsenal this week will not be enough to save him,” it says.

However, Chelsea are becoming impatient with their chosen successor, Sven Goran Eriksson, and want him to make up his mind whether he will stay on as England boss beyond Euro 2004.

If he does decide to stay with the FA, Chelsea will turn to alternative candidates “believed to feature” Ottmar Hitzfeld, Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti and Martin O’Neill.

As for Ranieri, the Mirror says he wants to stay on in the Premiership when he finally does get the sack.

“Should the situation arise,” says agent Jon Smith, “I know he would prefer to stay in this country.”

For those of us who thought that the tennis season lasts only two weeks and is called Wimbledon, the Sun has news from Indian Wells where Tim Henman wilted in the burning Californian sunshine and lost to World No.1 Roger Federer in the final of the Pacific Life Open.

However, the Brit picked up £115,000 as runner-up, as well as cementing his place within the Top 10.

And Federer had some encouraging words for those who still harbour hopes that Henman could one day end Britain’s years of failure in the one grand slam event that really matters here.

“Tim is always difficult to play against, he’s very dangerous and I think he’s figured out his own game now,” the Swiss ace said.

“He knows what to do now and the results show.”

Federer won the match 6-3, 6-3.’



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