Saturday 18 November 2017

Schmeichel adds fuel to growing fire in dressing room

Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel looks dejected after his teams' 3-0 defeat by Manchester United. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters
Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel looks dejected after his teams' 3-0 defeat by Manchester United. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

John Percy

Claudio Ranieri's position as Leicester City manager is becoming increasingly precarious, with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel describing their feeble Premier League title defence as "embarrassing".

Ranieri is under mounting pressure after a fourth league defeat in a row and may not survive a loss at Swansea City next Sunday.

The 65-year-old is reportedly losing his grip on the dressing room amid alleged friction with senior players.

Leicester have won only five league games since writing their title fairy tale and Ranieri's methods and tactics are understood to have bewildered his players at times this season.

Jamie Vardy has scored in only one game out of the last 24 in all competitions, while Leicester's defence has appeared flimsy.

Their recruitment has also been poor. Around £60m was spent over the summer, but many of those new recruits have flopped, with Nigeria international Ahmed Musa taken off at half-time yesterday.

Schmeichel's withering assessment of their defeat by United will only add to the sense of a season unravelling.

"For the first 40 minutes we played okay, but after that it's unacceptable. It is not good enough and sums our season up at the moment," he said.

Fight

"Let's not talk about last season. It's gone. We need to stand up and be counted. There are a lot of factors that go into it, but this season has not been good right from the start.

"I know what is going on in the dressing-room. We are a group of players low on confidence, but not low on fight. It is not a comfortable situation. It has been terrible, embarrassing.

"It is time for each one of us - from the top to the bottom of this club - to be counted. If we don't we will be relegated."

Ranieri, meanwhile, is remaining loyal to his players.

"We're together. I'm happy with the players and they're happy with me. We have to stay together and keep fighting," he said.

"If the players are unhappy they can go and see the chairman, but no one has been there.

"We are unhappy, we are very sad. We have to react. Without the results, it is harder, but we fight until the end. I'm used to fighting and my players are used to this over the last 10 years."

Jose Mourinho was in typically prickly mood afterwards, as he declared: "I'm at Manchester United and I don't want to change the profile of our play. This is the way the fans and the club want us to play, but I also don't want to be the manager of a team that plays very well, creates a lot of chances and doesn't win matches - so we need to score goals." © Daily Telegraph, London.

Telegraph.co.uk

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