Ranieri plays down Roma title chances

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The Independent Football

Claudio Ranieri is refusing to entertain suggestions that his AS Roma side are serious challengers for the Scudetto.

The resurgent Eternal City side face stuttering Serie A leaders Internazionale on Saturday evening in a game which is pivotal to the title chances of both clubs.

Third-placed Roma are now just four points adrift of Inter ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Bologna.

"When we lose, dreams of glory fade, and when we win, the Scudetto is ours," explained Ranieri.

"We have to stay focused and do our work. It's right for the city to dream, but we have to think about Bologna.

"Inter remain the favourites for the title. The other contenders are Milan and they will fight it out among themselves. The Scudetto doesn't interest me.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground without kidding ourselves."

Meanwhile, AC Milan head coach Leonardo has moved swiftly to quash rumours of a rift with injured striker Alexandre Pato.

The 20-year-old Brazilian is expected to be sidelined until mid-April with a fresh hamstring injury.

Reports in Italy had suggested that Leonardo was unhappy with the brittle nature of his 14-goal leading scorer, but the coach himself has denied suggestions of a rift with his compatriot.

"There's been a lot of talk about Pato, we thought the problem of the Brazilian was a mental one," he explained.

"Alexandre is young, he's only 20 years old and it's normal that he has anxiety at being out."