Nantes (France) (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri insists his incredible achievements at Leicester City count for nothing now that he has taken over at sleeping French giants Nantes, where he was unveiled as their new coach on Monday.
“I have missed being out on the pitch. But we must forget what I did at Leicester. What we achieved there was unique. It is not the same here,” said the 65-year-old Italian at a press conference.
Ranieri has signed a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 side to return to coaching for the first time since his sacking by Leicester in February.
He was dismissed by the English club less than a year after leading them to a fairytale Premier League title triumph in 2016 and now returns to France, where he previously worked in charge at Monaco.
Nantes are historically one of France’s most successful sides, but last won the title in 2001 and have often struggled in the years since.
“Nantes have already won eight titles and I am very honoured to be here. It is very important to be humble but to maintain the conviction that we can do something good,” added Ranieri, who said he is not scarred by his sacking from Leicester.
“No. What I experienced there was fantastic. The love the people of Leicester showed towards me was incredible. Even more than winning the Premier League.
“The motivation is still strong. If I continue to work as a coach, it is because my passion and love for football, for the players, is still there. I am very nervous when I am at home with my wife, I prefer to be here,” he joked.
The Canaries finished seventh last season, their best showing since 2004. That was after Sergio Conceicao took over in December and lifted them up the table from the relegation zone.
Conceicao signed a new contract at the end of the campaign only to jump ship when offered the chance to go back to his homeland and coach Portuguese giants Porto.
Ranieri added: “The team played well, they were very compact, well organised. I am very curious to see what they can do with me.
“To go from 19th place to seventh is fantastic. Sergio Conceicao did a great job with the players. I want to continue in that direction.
“We are going to work very hard. I hope the supporters will be happy with them. Words are fine but the most important thing is what happens on the pitch.”