Belfast Telegraph

Ranieri looking to Leicester's future without Kante as Amartey delivers

Leicester City 2 Swansea City 1

By Mark Kierans

Daniel Amartey's impressive performance against Swansea on Saturday drew comparisons with N'Golo Kante but Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri was quick to play them down.

Amartey started for the injured Nampalys Mendy, in the only change made by Ranieri following the goalless draw with Arsenal, and the Ghanaian was energetic and provided a solid barrier in front of the Foxes defence.

He was composed on the ball and generally kept things simple. Not afraid to make a tackle, it was his challenge deep inside his own half which led to the opening goal.

It was reminiscent of Kante's displays, leading to his £30m summer move to Chelsea.

Ranieri said: "I don't want to speak of Kante. There is only one - there isn't another in the world. He has gone and now we need to move on.

"But Amartey played very, very well. He now knows very well the Premier League. He can play centre-back, central midfielder, right-back, right winger and I am very pleased with him. He played very well, was solid, strong and recovered a lot of balls."

Another summer signing -Ahmed Musa - came on as a substitute after 75 minutes on Saturday but, unlike Amartey, Ranieri feels the striker is still finding his feet in the Premier League.

"It is important that Musa understands how we play. The Russian league is very different, they play a slower tempo. The English league is very fast," said Ranieri.

"He must increase his fitness and understanding. He can play together with (Jamie) Vardy."

Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin hopes to complete a deal to sign Barnsley centre-half Alfie Mawson before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old is close to a switch to the Liberty Stadium and after the 2-1 defeat at Leicester Guidolin said: "We are working to sign a player - a central defender. This is all I know at the moment because the chairman is working for this situation.

"I'm optimistic [for signings] but I have always said that I'm happy with this group."

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke has revealed his satisfaction at completing a full 90 minutes for the first time since May.

The striker, who last week became the club's record signing when arriving for £27m from Liverpool, showed promise throughout Saturday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Bournemouth.

"It was unbelievable, the atmosphere. Especially in the second half, (the crowd) pushed us on and we can be thankful to them, they helped us to score the crucial goal."

Bournemouth resisted intense pressure from Palace until Scott Dann's headed goal in the third minute of stoppage time secured the draw they deserved.

Beyond substitute Wilfried Zaha consistently beating their left-back Charlie Daniels, Eddie Howe's team defended as impressively as goalkeeper Artur Boruc performed, to the manager's pleasure.

"There's been a lot of question marks about our defensive play at times," said Howe, a retired central defender.

"But I thought the centre-backs and the goalkeeper -supported by the rest of the team - really did put a good display in for the majority of the game."

Belfast Telegraph


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