Belfast Telegraph

Claudio Ranieri sounds rallying cry to struggling champions Leicester

Claudio Ranieri has admitted it is now time for his players to show "the real Leicester" as he seeks to haul them out of their slump.

The English champions have won just once in seven Premier League matches with their only victory, somewhat bizarrely, coming against Manchester City 4-2 on Saturday.

They have taken just one point from seven away games this season, having lost just twice on the road on the way to the title last season.

After losing at Bournemouth on Tuesday they now face the short trip to Stoke but Ranieri has called on his "warriors" to start putting up more of a fight.

"Stoke are a good team, they move the ball quickly with good players. They are strong but I want to see the real Leicester," he said.

"Our style doesn't change but our away form should be better. We have to react, to improve. I'm sure we will.

"We need to be determined. We're a team that can make a good match when we win a lot of first and second balls.

"I'm a balanced man and I know only one medicine - to work. I'm confident with my players. They are warriors."

Ranieri received some good news with first-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who did not miss a Premier League match in the previous campaign, on the verge of a return.

The Dane has been sidelined with a broken hand since November 3 but could be set for a comeback at the weekend.

"Kasper Schmeichel trained very well today so I'll check tomorrow," the Italian added.

"The goalkeeper isn't so different because he has to understand the line of the ball and reactions.

"Kasper is training very well and feels good. Today he made a little game between us. I want to see the reaction tomorrow but the hand is okay."

The news on midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who has missed the last two matches with a knee injury, is less encouraging.

"I'll also check Drinkwater tomorrow," said the Foxes boss.

"He has a little problem with his knee from a kick in Porto. Without him we lose something but (Andy) King and (Daniel) Amartey are working so hard to do good things.

"Also (Nampalys) Mendy is getting better training after training and then I have to choose the best solution."

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