Thursday 19 April 2018

Ranieri urges superheroes to unleash knockout blow

Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

John Percy

Claudio Ranieri's players are on the verge of becoming real-life superheroes as they return to Copenhagen, attempting to secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time.

Eleven months ago the Leicester squad spent a weekend in the Danish capital dressed as characters including Batman, Spiderman and the Power Rangers for their Christmas fancy-dress party.

It was a moment that typified their remarkable season as they went on to lift the Premier League title, but they will continue the fairy tale if they record a fourth successive win in Europe tonight.

Leicester have performed like seasoned European veterans in their first experience of the competition and will be guaranteed winners of Group G if they beat Copenhagen and Porto fail to win at home to Club Brugge.

Andy King, who dressed as one of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles last year, is hoping for another memorable visit to the country recently voted the happiest in the world.

"We had a great weekend last November, that sort of sums up the team spirit we've got in the camp," said the midfielder, who eight years ago to the day was playing for Leicester in League One against Bristol Rovers.


"We all came away for the Christmas party, we had a great time and saw bits of the city - but we're here for work now and hopefully we can go home as happy as we did last time.

"We want to get over the line and reach the last 16 as quickly as possible. We've got three massive games to come and it would be a huge achievement to qualify.

"Over the last couple of games we've gone back to what we know and we feel like we're back to ourselves."

Leicester head into the return game against Copenhagen on the back of a 1-1 draw at Tottenham last Saturday - nominated as their best performance of the season so far by Ranieri.

And the 65-year-old could not have appeared more relaxed as he prepared for what is likely to be their toughest Champions League tie so far, revealing he was visited by trick-or-treaters at his Leicester apartment on Hallowe'en night.

"I put a big bag of chocolates at the door and people came. Unbelievable," he said.

"I came to the door, went back to my dressing room to watch the television and 'ring!' - and I go back.

"Then I put the chair very close to the door. It was good."

Ranieri undoubtedly has his eyes on the real prize at Parken Stadium, though, as the title winners look to maintain their 100 per cent record. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

FC Copenhagen v Leicester City, Live, BT Sport 3, 7.45

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