Tuesday 12 November 2019

Best to come from Mahrez - Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri's men are unbeaten in three league games
Claudio Ranieri's men are unbeaten in three league games

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is working on making Riyad Mahrez a more complete player.

Mahrez maintained his sparkling start to the season with another goal on Saturday - his fourth of the campaign - as the Foxes came from behind to draw 1-1 with Tottenham and preserve their unbeaten record.

The Algeria international curled a lovely left-foot shot past Hugo Lloris from the right-hand side of the penalty area less than a minute after Dele Alli had headed Spurs in front.

In a largely forgettable game in which both teams lacked a cutting edge in the final third, Mahrez was relatively quiet for much of the afternoon, although most of the good things that Leicester did went through the 24-year-old.

His attacking qualities are there for all to see but it is going the other way where Ranieri believes Mahrez must work to improve his all-round game.

"Mahrez is important but all the team is very important. In this moment he is in great condition and he is very good for the team," said Ranieri.

"His passing is good, his shooting is good and his ideas are good - that is important for all the team.

" But I am an Italian manager and I am interested also in how he defends, and he is getting better.

"He will improve and at the end he could be a very, very complete player."

After beginning the season with back-to-back victories against Sunderland and West Ham, the visit of Tottenham was the most difficult assignment yet for Ranieri's men.

And the Italian was interested to see how his team compared to those challenging at the upper echelons of the Barclays Premier League.

He said: "I wanted to see the gap between us and to reach the Champions League, because Tottenham have been challenging for that. The level of the Tottenham players is very high.

"I see a lot of spirit in the team when we come back 25 seconds after conceding the goal.

"We played very well tactically and I am very satisfied. I think the draw was right.

"The whole team has started well and is doing a very good job and is taking confidence."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was angered by the way his side conceded an equaliser so quickly after going in front at the King Power Stadium.

Substitute Alli, a £5million signing from MK Dons last season, stooped to head Spurs into the lead from a Nacer Chadli cross after 81 minutes. But the advantage was extremely short-lived as Leicester went straight up the other end and equalised through Mahrez.

The draw means Spurs are without a win in their first three games - letting leads slip in the last two - prompting Pochettino to call for more focus from his players.

``It was 50/50, a very difficult game for both teams,`` he said.

``In the second half we played much better. I am disappointed with the draw. Last game against Stoke we lost a 2-0 lead and we did it again. We deserved more again but it is a shame.

``We need to compete better to the end because against Stoke we conceded late also - two goals.

``I am angry and disappointed, not frustrated. The mistake we made today is difficult to explain.

``My concern and my focus this week will be to compete much better.``

PA Media

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