Football: Ranieri not afraid to gamble for a win

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri giving instructions to winger Riyad Mahrez during their win over Norwich. The Italian is prepared to throw caution to the wind in order to find tactical solutions for victory, as his side sit two points clear of
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri giving instructions to winger Riyad Mahrez during their win over Norwich. The Italian is prepared to throw caution to the wind in order to find tactical solutions for victory, as his side sit two points clear of Tottenham with 11 games to go this season.PHOTO: REUTERS

Manager says he is just doing his job as three points are all that matter in EPL title race

LONDON • Leicester City face the next test in their extraordinary Premier League title challenge with manager Claudio Ranieri prepared to take more risks in search of victory over West Bromwich Albion.

The Italian's boldness was rewarded on Saturday as his substitutions paid off with a late 1-0 win against Norwich City.

And he is ready to take the bull by the horns again today as Leicester look to claim a second home win in four days and extend their fairy-tale season.

Leicester answered another major question about their title credentials on Saturday when they demonstrated their patience and nerve to score in the 89th minute through Leonardo Ulloa after being frustrated by Norwich.

Success came after Ranieri threw caution to the wind by sacrificing a defender to deploy a 3-5-2 system late on.

"I take a lot of risks," said Ranieri, whose side go into the game two points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the summit.

TINKERMAN NOW A RISK-TAKER

I take a lot of risks. One point is nothing - we had to win. If you lose, it is just one point less. We took the risk and the manager is hired for this reason, to take a risk.

CLAUDIO RANIERI, Leicester City manager, on changing tactics in order to win matches.

"One point is nothing - we had to win. If you lose, it is just one point less. We took the risk and the manager is hired for this reason, to take a risk. I enjoy it when there is something to do from my side and Saturday was good.

"When you change and the change finds the solution, it is fantastic."

Ranieri is likely to be forced into a change to his starting line-up against West Brom after N'Golo Kante, one of the stars of Leicester's season, suffered a hamstring injury against Norwich.

Andy King is the Frenchman's likely replacement after figuring as a substitute on Saturday, while right-back Danny Simpson is available again after serving a one-match suspension.

The right-back could return at the expense of January signing Daniel Amartey, who made his debut against Norwich.

West Brom will also be forced into at least one change after Chris Brunt suffered a knee injury in their 3-2 home win against Crystal Palace.

The left-back, who is awaiting news from a scan amid fears of cruciate ligament damage, is expected to be replaced by James Chester.

Saido Berahino is set to start again after demonstrating his return to form with a fine goal and an impressive performance against Palace just 24 hours after he apologised for his threat to go on strike last year.

Captain Darren Fletcher said: "He's never been a problem in the dressing room.

"But he'll feel he could've been fitter at the start of the season. It's difficult to play Premier League games when you're not on top of your fitness levels.

"But he's got them back and he's hungry to score goals and do well. He's a talented player and you want to see people like that do well for West Brom."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


LEICESTER V WEST BROM 
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'RANIERI UNAFRAID TO GAMBLE FOR A WIN'. Print Edition | Subscribe