Ranieri hails best performance of Foxes' season

The Nigerian Ahmed Musa has finally added his name to Leicester's scoring chart.
The Nigerian Ahmed Musa has finally added his name to Leicester's scoring chart.

LONDON • It was only their third league victory of the season, but maybe, just maybe, there are signs that Leicester can juggle the demands of the Premier and Champions Leagues.

Now without a defeat in 20 league games at home, the Foxes on Saturday brushed aside a game but brittle Crystal Palace 3-1, whose battle to integrate Christian Benteke is far from won.

Riyad Mahrez was once again outstanding for the Premier League champions, but, less predictably, the Algeria international was given solid support from two new arrivals - Islam Slimani and Ahmed Musa.

"Our best performance of the season," declared winning manager Claudio Ranieri, who revealed he had demanded his players deliver a performance to kick-start their domestic campaign. "I said maybe this would be the basement of our Premier League season, so it was important to win.

"We won, we played well and the only thing I didn't like was that Crystal Palace scored, but I have to recognise they deserved that."

Palace did deserve it, because they contributed to a vibrant contest, but Alan Pardew did not dispute the outcome was correct and Leicester look back on song.

"I saw their game against Chelsea (a 0-3 away loss on Oct 15) and they didn't have the same verve and aggression they had here," the Palace manager said. "I think most teams are going to find it difficult here."

Ranieri's side were on course for their first win in four league matches after Nigeria international Musa claimed his first Leicester goal in his 10th appearance since a pre-season move from CSKA Moscow.

"Ahmed is starting to play as I want... he's become a fighter and he thinks so quickly," said Ranieri.

Japan forward Shinji Okazaki doubled the lead in the second half with his first goal in 14 league appearances.

Austrian defender Christian Fuchs sealed the points in the closing stages with his first goal for the Foxes, a day after he signed a new three-year deal, and Yohan Cabaye's late reply was no consolation for the visitors.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'Ranieri hails best performance of Foxes' season'. Print Edition | Subscribe