Foxes manager Ranieri dismisses fears over future

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has dismissed any fears over his future, but admits the club’s owner is not happy with their form.

The Foxes chief has left Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at home for tonight’s Champions League game in Porto as he looks to revive their Premier League season.

Leicester, who lost just three league games en route to a shock title success last term, have suffered seven defeats this season and are just two points above the relegation zone, but Ranieri is unconcerned about losing his job despite the dissatisfaction of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

“Never, because it’s not my decision,” the Italian said.

“The owner is always behind us, he always tells us how he can help us and is always positive. Of course he’s not happy - no one at the club is.

“When we win, we win together. When we lose, we lose together.

“My experience says it’s important to stay calm and be positive, believe in your players and do the best for your team.”

Mahrez and Vardy will not play at the Estadio do Dragao while Robert Huth, Andy King, Islam Slimani and Kasper Schmeichel have also not travelled as Ranieri looks to keep them fresh for Saturday’s visit of Manchester City.

The Foxes have already qualified from Group G and are five points clear of second-placed Porto, who need to win to ensure they reach the last 16 ahead of FC Copenhagen.

Ranieri conceded if they needed victory in Portugal he would have taken a stronger squad, but is happy to hand his fringe men a chance with Demarai Gray, Leonardo Ulloa and Marcin Wasilewski expected to play and 18-year-old midfielder Harvey Barnes in the group.

Porto boss Nuno Espirito Santo insisted his side can qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League without any Leicester favours.

Espirito Santo is not relying on the Foxes rolling over in Portugal.

He said: “We depend only on ourselves and we want to continue the journey we started in Rome.

“The approach is always going to be the same, there will be determination and commitment. The players know their responsibilities against Leicester and it will be a difficult game.

“Leicester are a great team and we will not make it easy for them. We only think of ourselves and what we have to do, we have to work with each other to reach the round of 16.”

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas will extend his Champions League victory record if Porto triumph as he chases a 94th win having surpassed Xavi in their 1-0 victory over Club Brugge last month.