Belfast Telegraph

Ranieri scoffs at rumours of unrest at Leicester

By Samuel Lovett

Following speculation of dressing room unrest at the King Power Stadium, Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has insisted he has a "fantastic relationship" with his players and asserted that his side are not caught in the throes of a "crisis".

With the Premier League champions currently struggling for form and results, the Italian's men have subsequently found themselves dragged into a tightly-contested battle at the bottom of the table.

After making history last year to clinch a first top-flight title in their 133-year history, the Foxes have managed just five wins this season. With just 21 points to their name, only two places now separate the side from the bottom three.

Reports of unrest and increasing alienation between players and manager have subsequently emerged, but Ranieri has sought to play down such speculation.

Speaking ahead of his side's FA Cup replay with Championship side Derby County on Wednesday, the Italian maintained that his Leicester side remain united.

"The dressing room is fantastic. We try to do our best, but this season everything is wrong.

"I said to my players, my door is always open. We have a fantastic relationship."

Prior to Tuesday's press conference, the club similarly responded to reports of growing disillusionment behind closed doors.

In an official statement, the Foxes declared their "unwavering support" for the Italian: "The entire Club is and will remain united behind its manager and behind its players, collectively and firmly focused on the challenges ahead."

Ranieri suggested that the statement had been released for the media with the purpose of stopping speculation regarding his job.

Leicester welcome Derby to the King Power Stadium tomorrow night after Wes Morgan's late header forced a fourth-round FA Cup replay 10 days ago.

New signing Molla Wague won't be available having missed the registration date for the original fixture while the Foxes are further hampered as Islam Slimani remains sidelined with injury. The disgruntled Leonardo Ulloa continues his refusal to play for the club but Daniel Amartey has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations and is in contention to start.

Leicester City

Derby County

FA Cup Fourth Round Replay:

King Power Stadium, Today, 7.45pm

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