Belfast Telegraph

Champions Leicester have lost title spark, laments Ranieri

FA Premier League

By Ian Herbert

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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