Wednesday 7 December 2016

Claudio Ranieri fulfils pizza promise to Leicester team

Published 29/10/2015 | 13:56

Claudio Ranieri says it is pizza time for the Leicester players
Claudio Ranieri says it is pizza time for the Leicester players

Claudio Ranieri will deliver on his promise to get the pizzas in after Leicester's first clean sheet of the season.

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Several weeks ago the City boss promised to treat his players when they kept out the opposition - and last weekend, at the 12th time of asking, the Foxes finally did it as they defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.

True to his word, Ranieri will foot the bill at a city centre restaurant on Thursday afternoon.

"Yes, I pay," he said. "I pay. They deserve this pizza and today we will eat.

"It was a very tough match against Crystal Palace and this could help us make a very good spirit.

"It is good to get together to eat and talk about football.

"I have offered rewards before in the past at other clubs and it is a good opportunity to sit down together. It helps the team bonding.

"It is the team spirit and they enjoy training. They know they can work hard and then enjoy. I hope the players enjoy it."

Alcohol is off the menu, though, as Ranieri laughed: "Drink? Drink water, yes."

The Italian, in his own inimitable way, then went on to thank the Leicester supporters for the part they played in helping the Foxes keep their first clean sheet.

"What we are doing here is like a pizza," he said. "To do well you have to have the right ingredients - players, team spirit, fans and you need a sprinkle of good luck.

"The fans are the tomato. Without tomato there is no pizza. The topping for all of us would be to get to 40 points."

Leicester resume Barclays Premier League action away at West Brom on Saturday following their midweek Capital One Cup exit against Hull.

Jamie Vardy, who netted his 10th goal of the season against Palace and in the process became only the eighth player to score in seven successive Premier League matches, was rested from the starting line-up at the KC Stadium and i n his absence the Foxes struggled against the Championship club.

It was not until his 65th-minute introduction that Ranieri's side looked more of an attacking threat.

The England international had a hand in the opening goal in extra-time, with fellow substitute Riyad Mahrez tucking away the rebound after Vardy's effort was saved, but Hull eventually prevailed on penalties.

Vardy will be back in the XI against West Brom but Ranieri insists Leicester are not over-reliant on their talisman.

"He is important but every player is important," he said.

"For us Jamie Vardy is important because a goalscorer is important in all the teams, but for a team like us it is more important.

"It is important to continue to play to continue to create a lot of chances and I hope he can continue (to score)."

Press Association

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