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Champions Leicester have lost title spark, laments Ranieri

FA Premier League

By Ian Herbert

Published 26/09/2016

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney replaces Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney replaces Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri (right) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Juan Mata, 2nd left, celebrates with team mates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Manchester United's Chris Smalling celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney warms up in the sideline during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho speaks with Juan Mata (left) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Leicester City's Daniel Drinkwater battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney walks off at half time during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Ander Herrera during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Leicester City's (left to right) Jamie Vardy, Daniel Amartey and Wes Morgan look dejected during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic speaks with Referee Mike Dean during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Ander Herrera and Leicester City's Islam Slimani battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
A young fan during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney on the bench during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri (right) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United attempts to volley the ball past Ron-Robert Zieler of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Claudio Ranieri, Manager of Leicester City gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United (C) celebrates his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Leicester City's German goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler (L) and Leicester City's English midfielder Danny Drinkwater (R) watch as the ball goes into their goal for Manchester United's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY DEVLIN / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Smalling of Manchester United heads the ball towards goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Ron-Robert Zieler of Leicester City (C) punches the ball while Chris Smalling of Manchester United attempts a header during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Smalling of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling (C) celebrates with Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (R) after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY DEVLIN / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Smalling of Manchester United scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Smalling of Manchester United scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: A general view inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Smalling of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 24, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Ander Herrera and Leicester City's Christian Fuchs battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during the warm up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney on the bench with Ashley Young (right) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick warm up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney on the bench with Michael Carrick (left) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said that the side have lost some of the spark that saw them claim their extraordinary Premier League title last season and are failing to "show their best."

The side's 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday means that they have already lost more away games this season than in the entirety of their triumphant 2015/16 campaign and in the aftermath of defeat Ranieri said he could not even think about this week's Champions League tie with Porto because of it.

"Defending the title is not difficult. You just have to show your best," he said. "This year is totally different, not because the other teams know us better but because it is not been possible for us to make the same level. When we concede a goal why do we switch off? That for me is the more important thing.

"But we want to fight. We can lose a match but it is important to lose when you are satisfied you have made the maximum and [against United] we didn't make the maximum."

Though Tuesday's game against the Portuguese side is certain to be accompanied by an intense atmosphere at the King Power Stadium, the side have slipped to 11th in the Premier League table with top eight sides Chelsea and Tottenham to come next month.

Leicester's defender Danny Simpson said that new rules on shirt tugging in the area from corners - with referees told to clamp down - had affected the side, who conceded three of their four goals at Old Trafford from corners.

"I have to be careful what I say," he said. "It is in your mind, yes, we have seen a few decisions this season. It is something we have to learn to adapt to as players. They have changed the rules.

"The way it was last season, I thought we were very good at defending set pieces and we made it tough for the opponents and you have been doing that for all your career and suddenly you have got to change it, but it's the same for everyone, it's something we have got to work on and look at. It's something we are going to have to adapt to and I am sure we will look at it and work out the best way because that can't happen again.

"But in any game, whether it's at Old Trafford or wherever, you can't concede three goals in 10 minutes from set pieces and we were already 1-0 down, we are all as disappointed as each other."

Belfast Telegraph

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