Sunday 11 December 2016

Ranieri insists Foxes' season is just starting

Leicester City 3 Crystal Palace 1

Nick Mashiter

Published 23/10/2016 | 02:30

Christian Fuchs of Leicester City (C) celebrates scoring his sides third goal with his Leicester City team mates. Photo: Getty
Christian Fuchs of Leicester City (C) celebrates scoring his sides third goal with his Leicester City team mates. Photo: Getty

Boss Claudio Ranieri hailed Leicester's best performance of the season after his gamble to bench Jamie Vardy paid off. The Foxes clinched their first Premier League win for over a month with a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace yesterday.

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First league goals of the season from Ahmed Musa and Shinji Okazaki put Leicester in control before Christian Fuchs' stunning half-volley sealed the win. Yohan Cabaye grabbed a late consolation for the visitors.

Leicester's Ahmed Musa (L) of celebrates scoring his sides first goal with his team mate Danny Simpson (C) and Riyad Mahrez (R). Photo: Getty
Leicester's Ahmed Musa (L) of celebrates scoring his sides first goal with his team mate Danny Simpson (C) and Riyad Mahrez (R). Photo: Getty

Victory extended Leicester's unbeaten home record in the Premier League to 20 games and, after celebrating his birthday on Thursday, Ranieri believes the Foxes' season starts now.

"I think it's the best performance of the season," he said. "For my birthday they have given me three points against Copenhagen and three points today.

"I saved my money because I said [if they got] a clean sheet I'd pay - maybe they don't want [it], so fantastic. I save my money which is good.

"Sooner or later we'll lose, but it's important because today is the basement of our Premier League season. We won and played well and the only thing I don't like is we conceded a goal.

Crystal Palace's French midfielder Yohan Cabaye celebrates scoring their first and only goal. Photo: Getty
Crystal Palace's French midfielder Yohan Cabaye celebrates scoring their first and only goal. Photo: Getty

"This week we made a very good performance against Copenhagen and today. It was important to come back and the first 20 minutes were more difficult as Crystal Palace started better than us, but after that we grew up a lot."

Vardy has now not scored in his last 10 appearances for club and country after coming on as a second-half substitute.

He was rotated as Ranieri tries to keep his side fresh following their 1-0 Champions League win over Copenhagen on Tuesday and it was the first time he has not started a Premier League game when available since March 2015.

"It's normal because we have to play so many matches. All the matches are important and when you see Okazaki and Musa in training I have to put them on the pitch," said Ranieri.

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