Ranieri: Monaco performing miracles this season

The Italian insists les Rouge et Blanc have put in some excellent Ligue 1 displays this term, praising their ability to cope without Radamel Falcao

Claudio Ranieri says Monaco are performing "miracles" to maintain second place in Ligue 1 behind reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain.

The principality outfit overcame Sochaux on Saturday, with an early Dimitar Berbatov strike and a James Rodriguez penalty enough to seal a 2-1 win as the visitors were only able to reply through Edouard Butin late on.

Les Rouge-et-Blanc remain a distant eight points behind leaders PSG but, despite the disappointment of being unable to mount a serious title challenge, Ranieri believes that his side deserve a lot of credit.

"People see Monaco as another PSG but this is not the case," the 62-year-old told reporters. "We cannot do the same. Winning is very difficult for Monaco and we must always be at 100 per cent. For me, my team performs miracles.

"Being second is not a miracle in itself but to stay in second after the injury to [Radamel] Falcao...if it is not a miracle, it is a blessing. Today was a very important victory but also a very difficult one.

"I told my players that it would be tricky. It was a good game. Sochaux had chances. They are a good team that are fighting not to go down [Sochaux are currently 19th] and may well save themselves."

Monaco have been without Falcao since the forward suffered knee ligament damage in a 3-0 Coupe de France win over Chasselay in January and their coach reserved praise for deadline day loan signing Berbatov for filling his shoes.

"Dimitar had a good week in training and played very good match for his first start," the former Chelsea boss added. "He scored and played for the team. I am very satisfied with his game."