Belfast Telegraph

Leicester City Premier League title wait: Claudio Ranieri won't watch game that could seal the title

By Ian Herbert

Claudio Ranieri claimed he will be the ‘last man in England’ to discover whether his Leicester City team are crowned champions tonight after revealing he will be flying back from a lunch date in Italy with his 96-year-old mother.

If Tottenham fail to end their 26-year wait for a league victory at Chelsea this evening, Leicester will be confirmed as champions for the first time in the club’s history after edging closer to the title with a 1-1 draw at Manchester United yesterday.

But although his team are on the brink of a remarkable title triumph, Ranieri admitted he will be in mid-air when Chelsea-Spurs game concludes as he will be returning from lunch with his mother, Renata.

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini faces a ban for elbowing while Leicester’s sent off Danny Drinkwater is also in hot water.

"On Monday night I am on a flight," Ranieri said. "I'm going to Italy now and I will come back at the same time of the match, so I will be the last man in England to know the result.

"I want to meet my mother. She is 96-years-old and I like to have lunch with her.

"As for the players, I don't know what they will do or if they will watch the game. It is their day off. I didn't ask, so I don't know."

If Tottenham end their lengthy wait for a victory and Chelsea and extend the title race, Leicester can win the title with a victory at home to Everton on Saturday.

But after seeing former club Juventus secure the Serie A title without playing last Monday, Ranieri insists he would be happy for Leicester to achieve success the same way.

"If I have a chance to win, it is important to win," Ranieri said. "Juventus won on Monday in Italy, so why not? In my mind, Tottenham will win all three matches, so I am now focused on the Everton match.

"But when I was Chelsea manager, the true derby was against Tottenham, so I know how big a game it will be.

"I only want to speak about the next match against Everton. I know all the city is blue, but we must continue to stay concentrated without something special like fireworks. We have to stay on the pitch."

Leicester must overcome Everton without midfielder Danny Drinkwater, sent off for two yellow cards at Old Trafford. The England player may yet face a further suspension if suggestions that he swore at referee Michael Oliver are confirmed by the official in his match report to the Football Association.

"It wasn't a red card for Drinkwater in my opinion," Ranieri said. "But I accept the referee's decision. Never do I speak about some incidents on the pitch. The referees have to make very difficult calls.

"I am very sad because he will miss the next game at home and I hope I will not miss him."

Goalscorer Morgan was quick to dismiss his side having one hand on the Premier League trophy.

"No, it's not ours until we have both hands on the trophy," he said. "But we'll be watching the Spurs and Chelsea game and maybe it will be our day."

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has stressed he will remain at Old Trafford next season.

There is increasing speculation that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will be in charge of the Red Devils when the 2016-17 campaign begins but Dutch boss Van Gaal has insisted: "Next year you will see me again."

The 64-year-old is adamant that he fully intends to honour the three-year deal he agreed with United in 2014 and stated that he was going nowhere.

He said: "I knew it would be like this. That's why they hired me and we spoke about it.

"We always knew that the process would take three years. I wanted to sign for two years. The club wanted me to sign for three years, not me. I signed for three years - so next year you will see me again.

"Every week for six months I have been 'sacked' - and yet I am still here.

"But this has happened to me at every single club I have been at."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph