Bridge makes Ranieri plea
By Mark Kendall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Wayne Bridge has urged Chelsea to keep faith with Claudio Ranieri insisting the club will be 'back to square one' if the Italian leaves.
The England international full back, who was brought to Stamford Bridge by the Italian coach last summer, feels The Blues need to retain Ranieri's services if they are to develop into one of Europe's leading sides.
The 23-year-old fears that bringing in a new manager will cause major upheaval at the club and leave many players currently on the books disillusioned with life in West London.
The West Londoners currently sit second in The Premiership and face Monaco in the first leg on their UEFA Champions League semi-final this week, and Bridge insists Chelsea's excellent performance this term should be attributed to Ranieri.
"I'm not too sure what's going to happen in the summer but if he goes I will be upset," the former Southampton star told the News of the World.
"For me he has done fantastically well and I'm certainly going to be loyal to my manager.
"I'm very thankful to him because he is the one who brought me to Chelsea.
"The boss has been terrific to me.
"He is always talking to me one-on-one and helping me.
"But it's not just me, he has a good relationship with all the players.
"And you have to agree things have gone well this season - second in the table and in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
That's terrific, especially as we have had so many new players here. We have gelled together quickly and the manager has to take credit for that.
"It would be very difficult for everyone if a new manager comes in. Basically we would be back to square one.
"We would all be back to working hard trying to impress the new man and winning a place in his side.
"But there's also the threat that a new man would want to bring in even more new players, his players to play his way.
"That could be incredibly unsettling for everyone."
Bridge's sentiments have been echoed by team-mate Claude Makelele who experienced a similar situation at former club Real Madrid.
The Spanish giants decided to oust Vicente del Bosque last summer - and install Carlos Queiroz - despite having led the club to two Spanish titles and two European Cups during his time in charge.
Makelele is fearful that Chelsea will make the same decision with Ranieri, and is sure such a move would lead to huge unrest amongst the players.
"That is a situation that could happen here," stated the Frenchman.
"At the moment, we're not at that stage as Mr Ranieri is still with us.
"We'll see what is going to happen at the end of the season.
"We're doing very well with Mr Ranieri - he is doing a great job.
"But the decision does not depend on us. What counts, as always, are results.
"I cannot speak on behalf of the club or comment on the behaviour of the directors.
"The coach knows what he must do and is capable of managing the situation.
"We're all in this together - and very going to go to the very end all together.
"There are no problems or worries in the dressing room. The manager is doing everything he can. The end of the season will tell us what we need to know."