MILAN - Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as Juventus coach after a poor run of results and youth team boss Ciro Ferrara has taken over temporarily, the club said on Monday. The Turin side are a point above fourth-placed Fiorentina with two matches left and are in danger of slipping out of an automatic Champions League berth after a run of seven Serie A games without a win. Fourth place guarantees only a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds. Club chief executive Jean Claude Blanc said Ferrara's appointment was initially for the last two games of the season. "The next two games are our future," Blanc told a news conference. "It is not our style (to sack someone) but we can not miss out on Europe. We wanted to shock the players so they'd take the right path with the right man at the right moment." Ferrara, a former Juventus defender, is also assistant to Italy coach and ex-Juve boss Marcello Lippi but has never managed a club before. "The players must rediscover their pride and the right motivation. I want to thank those who believed that I could be useful in this moment, I appreciate it a lot," Ferrara said. The former Italy international, who also played for Napoli, won seven Italian championships as a player and one Champions League with Juve in 1996. "He is already a talisman for us and has nothing to prove," Blanc added. Former Chelsea coach Ranieri succeeded Didier Deschamps in June 2007 after Juve were promoted back to Serie A following their demotion for match-fixing. BAD RUN They finished third last season and made a decent start to this term, beating Real Madrid home and away in the Champions League, but the recent bad run has shown no signs of ending. Sunday's 2-2 home draw with Atalanta, played in an empty stadium after fans were banned for racist chanting, proved to be the last straw for the board despite officials previously saying Ranieri would be safe until the end of the season. Media reports have said former Juve midfielder Antonio Conte, who has led Bari to promotion to Serie A this season, is among the frontrunners to take over fulltime if Ferrara's appointment remains temporary. AS Roma coach Luciano Spalletti and Gian Piero Gasperini, who has said he is staying as Genoa manager, have also been linked with the job. Juventus had been Inter Milan's main challengers for the title but are now three points below second-placed AC Milan. They bravely lost to Chelsea in the Champions League last 16, their first European campaign since their demotion, and were beaten by Lazio in the Italian Cup semi-finals. Ranieri had not been popular with fans for several weeks and recently left top striker Alessandro Del Piero out of the team. Apart from forward Amauri, Juve's purchases under Ranieri have generally disappointed with midfielders Tiago and Christian Poulsen especially struggling. Italy's most successful domestic club, with 27 league titles, are in the process of buying Werder Bremen's Brazilian playmaker Diego and re-signing Real Madrid and Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro for next season. NEWS: Juve draw puts third place in jeopardy BLOG: Juventus on course to ensure Ranieri the sack NEWS: Ranieri safe until end of season
18 May 2009
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