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Ranieri delighted with narrow Monaco win

With star striker Radamel Falcao out injured, Emmanuel Riviere led the line for Ranieri and did not disappoint - scoring the winner 15 minutes from time.

"I saw that the squad wanted to win," the Italian said.

"For the goal, four players were ready within one metre of the goal in order to score. So it was good. The most important thing is the three points.

"The players remained calm and kept the ball, passing to their team-mates quickly. They tried everything to get a goal. It was very difficult but I am very pleased."

Ranieri reinforced his pleasure to be second on the table, as he has already given up hope on surpassing Paris Saint-Germain - despite the fact the leaders are only two points clear at the top.

"I think that the season is very long," Ranieri said.

"Like I said already, Monaco is fighting Monaco and we keep going without watching the other teams. Second in the table behind PSG is good.

"A season is long, it is long. But I am pleased for my players because they deserve it and it is the fourth victory in a row."

Angel Di Maria is the latest in a long line of players to be linked with a move to the Stade Louis II, but Ranieri said the Argentine is not a realistic target.

"For me, yes," Ranieri replied, when asked if he was interested in the Real Madrid man.

"But I do not think he will come. It is just a rumour."

Ranieri also said Colombian Falcao could be ready to return from a thigh injury for their trip to Guingamp on Saturday.

"Falcao may play the next (game). Maybe," he said.

"I think that he will train with us on Wednesday and if he's fit, he could play or be on the bench with me.

"I think on Wednesday he will train with the rest of the group, probably."