"We had 19 players who had never played in Ligue 1, and we only had Falcao for five months... This second place is a great result for the team, we have had a fantastic championship". In three sentences, Claudio Ranieri has perfectly summed up the success of the 2013-14 season, with direct qualification for the Champions League achieved with three matches still to play.
Asked by journalists how motivated he players would be for the remaining games, Il Mister didn't mix his words: "The most important thing is the club and the supporters." In other words, even if the season objective has been reached, there's no question of taking the foot off the pedal in these final matches, starting on Wednesday against Coupe de France winners Guingamp, a side still fighting for their Ligue 1 survival.
"My only regret is the Coupe de France, but Guingamp deserved their victory. They are a good side and will be full of confidence after Saturday's big win at the Stade de France." While ASM's semi-final loss at the Stade Roudourou still leaves a bitter taste, Claudio Ranieri is now fully focused on the remaining Ligue 1 matches and preparing for next season, with the start of preseason training set for July 2.