Premier League Rundown

Ranieri’s tough times as Leicester slump sees them hover perilously close to Premier League drop zone

Claudio Ranieri could be forgiven for starting to feel the pressure. The Leicester City coach was the toast of the Premier League when he steered the Foxes to the top flight title back in May of last year.

But it is a very different scenario that has unfolded this season at the King Power Stadium with City struggling for league form and just five points off the drop zone.

Ranieri’s men were convincingly trounced 3-0 at Southampton the weekend and it would appear that all of the confidence, charisma and character that summed up their last campaign has vanished.

The indifferent form — remember they are still in the Champions League and face Seville in the knockout stages next month — has led to some fans calling for the Italian to be axed. Others have suggested that the Foxes could well be the first team in history to win the Champions League AND if you follow be relegated. Those who like a flutter will no doubt be scouring the odds for such a conclusion to what is, at best, a stuttering season.

City get a breather from Premier League action, this week, however, but don’t think they are getting it easy when they bid to get through the fourth round of the FA Cup. They are up against East Midlands rivals Derby County, no slouches themselves in the Championship; battle will commence at Pride Park on Friday night in the first of the next round of matches.

And there is little rest, thereafter. Because City then face a tough test at Burnley on January 31. What Sean Dyche’s team lack in finesse they make up for in fight and with victories in their past four home games they are slowly turning Turf Moor into a fortress.

But the challenges ahead are ones which defender Wes Morgan believes are surmountable, and he has highlighted the lack of potency in the City strikeforcce as partly to blame for the club’s slump.

He said:

“We’re trying to find the answers and in the last third when we attack, it’s the vital passes that make the difference. Southampton had that and we didn’t, so we need to go back to the training ground and work hard to continue to try and improve.”

“It’s always difficult to just forget the result, but that’s what we’ve got to do. We need points and we need to move up the table. We’ll dust ourselves off now and look forward to the next game.”

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