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Leicester v Porto Champions league: 'Dragon Slayer' Slimani gives Ranieri inside track

By Steve Madeley

Published 27/09/2016

Goalscorer: Islam Slimani warms up yesterday for Leicester City’s battle with Porto
Goalscorer: Islam Slimani warms up yesterday for Leicester City’s battle with Porto

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has received expert advice on slaying the 'Dragons' of Porto tonight after calling on his very own 'Dragon Slayer'.

Ranieri has sought the opinion of Islam Slimani, his £30m record signing, who already has five goals in three games against Porto in 2016.

The record has earned the 28-year-old the nickname 'Dragon Slayer', and Ranieri is hoping he the Algerian will find the form that brought a brace in his Premier League debut against Burnley.

"Yes, I spoke with him about Porto," said Ranieri. "He came to me and I went to him.

"We have a lot of respect for Porto, they are a lot more experienced team in Europe.

"They have played so many matches in the Champions League and are used to staying at the top of their league and have won six titles in the last 10 years.

"We respect them a lot but we will also try to win.

"Of course Slimani has scored so many times against Porto.

"Slimani will play as normal, he's a goalscorer and scored a lot of goals against Porto and I'm sure he'll be a threat to them."

Slimani has downed Porto three times already since the turn of the year.

He scored twice for Sporting in a 2-0 home win in January and grabbed two more in a 3-1 away victory in April.

He then netted his final Sporting goal in August in a 2-1 win that remains Porto's only league defeat this season.

Ranieri knows, though, that improving defensively will be just as vital to Leicester's hopes of pulling off a second Champions League win, having triumphed 3-0 at Club Brugge in their Champions League debut game.

And he has ordered his players to become more physical when defending set-pieces after they admitted to the manager they were scared of being punished for fouls.

They have seen Stoke, among others, punished under a new Premier League directive to crack down on grappling, and tonight's game will be officiated by hard line Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir.

Cakir has issued 11 yellow cards and one red in his last two domestic games and has previously sent off Steven Gerrard for England against Ukraine and Chelsea's John Terry against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Three of United's four goals came following corners and Ranieri said: "I spoke to players and they were scared. But the referees did not speak about a new rule, it's something we're used to doing.

"I said 'why change?' Last season we were one of best in league and conceded very few goals from set pieces, and now we leave players four metres!

"Now we have to go back to our strength.

"They are a little scared but the referees told them the rule is the same - we can pull, but now they are scared about it. I don't know why."

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is expected to return for Leicester after missing three games with a groin problem but midfielder Nampalys Mendy will be missing again with an ankle problem.

Winger Marc Albrighton scored Leicester's first ever Champions League goal at Brugge and he believes another win tonight would take them a giant step towards the knockout phase.

"We got off to a great start in Brugge," he said.

"The bread and butter is your home games and if you win your home games it will take you far in this competition.

"It will be a fantastic occasion. We want to get off to good start and hopefully it will put us in a great position to go further.

"We were organised in Brugge and scored goals at good times. Porto will be equally as tough.

"We have to be as organised and compact as we were in that game. We have done our work in the meetings and found out what we need to know about Porto.

"Hopefully we've left no stone unturned."

Belfast Telegraph

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