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Friday 17 November 2017

Claudio Ranieri remaining calm despite Leicester's poor league form

Claudio Ranieri's Leicester are only two points clear of the relegation zone
Claudio Ranieri's Leicester are only two points clear of the relegation zone

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insists he is remaining calm about his side's Premier League campaign.

Tuesday's 1-0 loss at Burnley, the champions' third straight league defeat, left them 16th in the table, just two points above the relegation zone.

Ranieri had emphasised before the game he was not panicking over the way things were panning out.

And he reiterated that message after his team were beaten by a controversial 87th-minute goal from substitute Sam Vokes - an effort allowed to stand despite Leicester's protests to referee Mike Dean that the ball had struck Vokes' arm just before he took his shot.

Ranieri was in no doubt it had been a "bad" decision by Dean but spoke in positive terms about his men.

"Panic? No," the Italian said when asked about his feelings following the contest, which had seen the visitors spend much of their time defending.

"We tried to make some good counter-attacks - maybe we missed the last assist to try to score goals.

"I'm happy with our performance, with our character, but, of course, the result is not with us.

"We have to work more, fight more and believe.

"We need to make two, three good matches with points, and then we will be getting better."

The build-up to the transfer deadline-day match had been troubled for Leicester, with forward Leonardo Ulloa having issued an apparent strike threat on Twitter amid the club rejecting bids for him from Sunderland.

While no move materialised for Ulloa, there was a new arrival for the Foxes confirmed just before Tuesday's 11pm deadline in Mali international Molla Wague.

The defender joins on loan from Udinese with the consent of his parent club Granada, and Leicester have an option to buy in the summer.

Ranieri said of Wague: "He is a good player, strong and he can help us, to give more change in the team and give some rest to my central defenders, because they work so hard every match."

There were also deadline-day incomings for Burnley as midfielder Ashley Westwood and wide man Robbie Brady - becoming the club's record signing - arrived on permanent deals from Aston Villa and Norwich respectively.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche said of the double signing: "I think they can add to what we do, although they know the demands I put on players here to get in the team, so that is their first job - to earn the right to do that.

"Brady has got experience and he can play in probably three different positions, so we'll see what he adds in that respect.

"Westy has had a tough run at Villa and we wanted to give him a new platform to grow from. He is only 26 and he has played over 100 games in the Premier League, so he knows a bit about it. I think he'll fit into the group well.

"I'm pleased for both of the players - for them, and us."

Tuesday's result - Burnley's seventh successive home win in all competitions and fifth in the league - took Dyche's men up to ninth in the table as they stayed 10 points clear of the drop zone.

Press Association

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