My dressing room is united: Ranieri

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri (left) and captain Wes Morgan pose with the Spirit of Sport award at the Laureus World Sport Awards. Leicester were also nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year award.
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri (left) and captain Wes Morgan pose with the Spirit of Sport award at the Laureus World Sport Awards. Leicester were also nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year award.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MONACO • Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said that he is not unsettled by speculation about his future as the Premier League champions slip towards the relegation zone.

Leicester have struggled to find the form that defied all odds and propelled them to the title last season, but the Italian said on Tuesday he was still leading a united dressing room.

"For me it (the speculation) was nothing because every week I speak with my owner and we have a very good relationship. When something goes wrong, the media try to understand why," he told Reuters at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.

Leicester gave Ranieri a massive vote of confidence last week, saying the Italian would be given the chance to turn things around.

"There was so much speculation that the chairman (Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha) said: 'OK Claudio, I will tell them something and we stop all of this speculation'.

"We believe. In this moment we lack confidence but you can get confidence only if you win and play well and we're not in this case.

"But my dressing room is very united and I am very confident in all of my players."

Leicester were presented with the Spirit of Sport award, after winning their first top-flight title, having also been nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year award won by retired German Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg.

However, Ranieri's side have yet to score a league goal this year and sit just one point above the relegation zone after suffering a 2-0 defeat at Swansea City on Sunday.

The 65-year-old has come down hard on the squad this week and scrapped their scheduled rest day.

A run of five straight league defeats has also left him questioning his loyal team selection. His stars of last season, in particular striker Jamie Vardy and winger Riyad Mahrez, have underperformed this term.

Determined to guide the club to safety, he said: "What we did last season, we can do the same - not win the title because now we are in a bad position, but I said to them (the players), 'If we did so well last season then we have to maintain the right balance'.

"We have to be strong to remember what we did last season to make a good balance and improve our confidence. When you lose a lot of matches, you also lose your confidence. For this reason I am pushing them."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'My dressing room is united: Ranieri'. Print Edition | Subscribe