“The first half was excellent after Basel’s good first 20 minutes, then we took control of midfield,” declared Ranieri.
“In the second we should’ve controlled the tempo, but instead we suffered as Basel opened up the play and we were unable to hit them on the break.
“We were unable to get Jeremy Menez into possession. Their central midfielders were pushing forward, so I thought we’d risk it and leave the flanks to them while hitting them through the middle. It worked.
“We suffered tonight and we won, that is the important thing. I always have to put in quality players and the more problems we cause for our opponents, the better, but at the same time I have to find a balance.”
The Giallorossi began to run out of steam towards the end, but Ranieri argues it is a fitness issue.
“I am forced to train my players on match day. I had four who played and have not trained since the Lecce game. Some have been going on like this for some time, licking their wounds and forced to carry on.
“At the moment we are like boxers – we must cover ourselves when needed and put in the punches when we have the chance.”