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Claudio Ranieri is tinkering his way towards European football at Nantes

Nantes began the season with two defeats but Claudio Ranieri has developed them into a solid outfit who look likely to challenge for a Europa League spot

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal from Leicester City in February was one of the more prominent examples of English football’s cyclical and impatient nature. The Italian was sacked just nine months after the unlikeliest of titles. Leicester were hovering just above the relegation zone and had struggled without N’Golo Kanté but Ranieri had also cruised through the Champions League group stage with just one goal conceded in Leicester’s first five matches. He hasn’t quite replicated the success of his first season at Leicester in his new job at Nantes but he has lost none of his defensive nous.

Historically, Nantes are one of France’s most successful clubs, with eight titles, although none since 2000-01, but they have fallen on harder times of late. They have jumped between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 since that title but, when in the top flight, their style was often dire, particularly under Michel der Zakarian, a fiery presence who is currently in charge at Montpellier. Der Zakarian earned the club promotion from Ligue 2 in the 2012-13 season and kept them there until his combative relationship with club president Waldemar Kita came to a head last summer and he was replaced by René Girard.

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