Thursday 8 December 2016

Ranieri could miss title celebrations as he flies to Italy to have lunch with 96-year-old-mother

Published 01/05/2016 | 17:50

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri applauds the fans after the final whistle at Old Trafford
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri applauds the fans after the final whistle at Old Trafford

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri will not be able to watch the game which could deliver his side their first-ever Premier League title because he wants to have lunch with his 96-year-old mother on her birthday.

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The Foxes will be crowned champions if Tottenham Hotspur, who trail them by eight points, fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a ground where they have not won since 1990, on Monday.

But, speaking after Leicester missed out on the victory against Manchester United that would have sealed the title on Sunday, Ranieri said he will be flying back from Italy when the game kicks off.

"I'd like to watch the match tomorrow, but I think I'm on a flight back from Italy so it's difficult for me to watch the match," Ranieri said after the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

"My mother is 96 years old and I would like to have a lunch with her. I will be the last man in England to know," Ranieri added.

"Three matches ago I said, in my mind Tottenham will win all the matches. Look, for us it's important to continue to dream."

Ranieri thought the draw with United was a fair result.

"United started very very well, moved the ball very well, and it was very difficult for us to restart and make something good," he said.

"After our goal I think we played better and there were chances for them and us. I think the draw was the right result.

"I was worried because we have very good heart, and I thought, OK, sooner or later we react. After their goal I thought, we have to react immediately, and fortunately at the first free kick we scored a goal," the Italian added.

"For us, it was important to show our character, our mentality. The beginning wasn't good, but afterwards I appreciate our performance. We suffer all the matches because we know what we are. We know every match we have to work hard."

Their task was made more difficult by the absence of top scorer Jamie Vardy, who was suspended for Sunday's game.

"Without Jamie it's more difficult for us, because we are used to playing the ball for Jamie, and the opponent is always scared of the ball for Jamie," said Ranieri.

"It was difficult for us to play because they press very very well."

Leicester will have Vardy, their leading scorer, back for Saturday's home game against Everton but they will be without Danny Drinkwater, who will be suspended after being sent off for a second bookable offence on Sunday.

Victory on Saturday will secure the title even if Tottenham beat Chelsea.

Reuters

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