Belfast Telegraph

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri not interested in Italy job

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has insisted he will not leave the Foxes and dismissed speculation linking him with the Italy job.

The 64-year-old has guided City to the top of the Barclays Premier League and they have a five-point lead ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

Italy manager Antonio Conte has announced he will leave the national side after Euro 2016 and is expected to become the new boss at Chelsea.

But Ranieri, who signed a three-year deal when he replaced Nigel Pearson last summer, said he has no intention of leaving the King Power Stadium now.

"No team can change my mind. I am very proud if they are thinking about me in Italy and everywhere but this is my club," said the Italian.

"I want to stay here, if my owner is happy I stay here. There is nothing to change my mind. There are a lot of things to do here. We are just starting to build. If the owner is happy with me, I am happy with him.

"If it's possible I would like to stay (for) a long time."

Monday's 1-0 win over Newcastle ensured the Foxes will go into the international break as league leaders and they need 20 points to mathematically secure the title.

Danny Drinkwater's form has also seen him earn a place in the England squad for their friendlies against Germany and Holland this month while N'Golo Kante has been rewarded with his first call up for France.

And Ranieri is desperate for the midfield duo to return fit but hopes their selections give them confidence for the run in.

"Yes, I start to be worried now. I'd like them to be with me but I understand," he said.

"Do you remember from the beginning I said we have to save the team, we have build a foundation and also the winning mentality. This is another little step, some players who didn't go to the national team now start to go there, then it is important they get more confidence."

Andy King will be assessed on Friday after a sickness bug ruled him out of the win over the Magpies but Ranieri has no other fitness concerns.

Meanwhile, Ranieri insisted he does not want to win the title out of revenge following his departure from Chelsea in 2004.

He was replaced by Jose Mourinho after finishing second in the league to Arsenal's invincible team and former Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly believes Ranieri is out to right the wrongs of his exit 12 years ago.

But Ranieri insisted he is not interested in revenge.

"He is wrong. I want to win because I want to win, but not for revenge. I don't have revenge in my life," he said.

"I am a very lucky man. I am doing the job that I want to do and not too many people can do this.

"It is not for revenge. Revenge is stupid. You can say revenge when you lose to one team and you want revenge, but not this kind of revenge. No."


From Belfast Telegraph