Foxes are underdogs, says Ranieri

LONDON • Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has tried to ease the pressure on his underperforming players by claiming the Premier League champions will be underdogs when they visit third-tier Millwall in the fifth round of the FA Cup today.

The Foxes are only a place above the Premier League relegation zone after five successive league defeats.

Millwall are sixth in England's League One but the London club beat top-flight sides Bournemouth and Watford in the previous rounds of the FA Cup.

They are also unbeaten in their past 12 games in all competitions.

"They have beaten two Premier League teams. We know this," said Ranieri, whose team needed a replay to get past second-tier Derby County in the previous round.

"We are the underdogs, if they beat Bournemouth and Watford who are above us in the league.

"Millwall are a good team - compact and full of confidence. They play well together but we are ready."

Ranieri will be missing strikers Islam Slimani and Leonardo Ulloa due to injury, but said he planned to keep faith with the team who got past Derby.

"I want to give another opportunity to the players who played against Derby," the Italian added.

"We have to play for our fans, 3,000 of them will be there with us and I want to see our players fight.

"My mind doesn't change if I win or if I lose. I stay positive to try to help my players."

REUTERS

MILLWALL V LEICESTER

Singtel TV Ch110, 10.50pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Foxes are underdogs, says Ranieri'. Print Edition | Subscribe