Monaco coach Ranieri focussed on semis, not on future
Monaco's Emmanuel Riviere (L) celebrates after scoring during their Ligue 1 match against Rennes in western France on April 12, 2014 - by Jean-Sebastian Evrard
The principality club travel to Ligue 1 strugglers Guingamp on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the French Cup and are huge favourites to lift the trophy at the Stade de France next month with Paris Saint-Germain already out.
They are also second in Ligue 1, although a 10-point deficit to PSG with five games remaining means it is only a matter of time before the capital club win the title.
Ranieri has done very little wrong since taking charge at the Stade Louis II, leading them to promotion back to the top flight last season, and he has a year left to run on his contract.
However, that has not dampened speculation that the club's billionaire majority shareholder Dmitry Rybolovlev will seek to replace the Italian in the summer, with reports last week linking him with an approach for France great, and current Real Madrid assistant, Zinedine Zidane.
"I don't know if I'll be the coach of Monaco next season," said Ranieri. "But I want to win the French Cup and finish as close to PSG as possible. When the team wins, it's better for everyone."
He added: "I love football, I love my job and I am very serious about my work. But I acknowledge that it's very difficult to have a career like (Arsene) Wenger or (Alex) Ferguson with a club today."
Monaco, who have won the French Cup five times but not since 1991 when Wenger was the coach, will be without promising left-back Layvin Kurzawa due to injury.
His absence is a blow as Monaco attempt to handle the pressure that comes with being favourites against a Guingamp side who have lost their last four matches in Ligue 1.
"We are the big favourites to win the Cup, which is to be expected. The pressure will be on us," said Ranieri, although Guingamp will be looking to return to the final of a competition they won as a second-tier side in 2009.
On that occasion they stunned their Brittany neighbours Rennes at the Stade de France, and there is a possibility that the clubs could meet again in the final this season.
- Rennes edge past Angers -
Meanwhile, two-time French Cup winners Rennes reached the final with a nervy 3-2 win over Ligue 2 side Angers on Tuesday.
Rennes, who won the Cup in 1965 and 1971, will hope for better luck in the final on May 3 than their last visit to the Stade de France in last season's League Cup final where they lost 1-0 against Saint-Etienne.
Rennes -- who are in a lowly 14th position in Ligue 1 -- came from a goal down early on to lead 3-1 but a penalty a minute from time by Mohammed Yattara, who had also scored their opener, made it a nervous last few minutes for the Brittany-region hosts.
However, they safely negotiated the dying stages to deprive Angers of what would have been their second ever appearance in the final, the first occasion being in 1957 when they were beaten 6-3 by Toulouse.
Fixtures (both 1900 GMT)
Guingamp v Monaco