Ranieri mourns end of Foxes ‘fairy tale’ ahead of return to Leicester
The current Fulham boss led Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016.
Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri has expressed his sadness over Leicester’s “fairy tale” ending when owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died.
Ranieri masterminded Leicester’s improbable 5,000-1 Premier League title success in 2015-16 but was sacked nine months later in February 2017.
Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people were killed in October when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed near the King Power Stadium.
Before facing the Foxes for the first time since he left Leicester, Ranieri told a press conference on Tuesday: “I think we spoke a lot about the fairy tale.
“Now the chairman, Vichai, has died the fairy tale has finished but the memories remain and the achievement.
“I am very sad for what happened and we have to continue in our life.”
Ranieri is anticipated to receive a rapturous reception from the visiting Leicester fans for his third match in charge of Fulham.
The 67-year-old Italian said: “It will be very strange. Very emotional moment, but it’s OK that is football.
“It will be a good moment, for sure, but after we have to win.”
The Cottagers won Ranieri’s first match in charge, ending a seven-match winless run, by beating Southampton 3-2.
That was followed by a 2-0 loss at Chelsea, another of Ranieri’s former clubs.
“I wanted to come back to the Premier League sooner or later, for me it’s a good moment now after Chelsea to play Leicester,” Ranieri added.
“Every game is very important. I want to see good progress after Southampton and Chelsea.”
Ranieri was encouraged by the performance against Chelsea, despite the loss.
He added: “I showed my players what we did well, we made some mistakes but it’s important to continue and watch on the TV what is wrong and improve during the training.
“Slowly, slowly, I’m sure we clean everything.”
Ranieri used pizza as an incentive for a clean sheet at Leicester – and now burgers are on the menu if Fulham can have a shut-out.
The Cottagers are the only one of 92 league clubs not to have kept a clean sheet this season.
Ranieri added: “I don’t know when it will arrive but we are working hard to make everything possible, sooner or later I’m sure, we are in the right way.”
Andre Schurrle is available after missing the Chelsea match with a knock.
Fulham were improved when Ranieri swapped Ryan Sessegnon and Stefan Johansen for Floyd Ayite and Aboubakar Kamara at half-time at Stamford Bridge, but Ayite is out with a small groin problem.