Saturday 24 March 2018

Ranieri shrugs off criticism

Claudio Ranieri is confident he will do a good job at Leicester
Claudio Ranieri is confident he will do a good job at Leicester

Claudio Ranieri has brushed off criticism after his shock Leicester appointment.

The new Foxes boss was the surprise choice to replace the sacked Nigel Pearson but his arrival has been met with a lukewarm reception.

Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker questioned the move for the Italian while Harry Redknapp has also been critical.

Redknapp said he was surprised Ranieri could "walk back into the Premier League" after he was sacked by Greece in November.

Ranieri signed a three-year deal last week to make Leicester his ninth job in the last 11 years but will ignore his critics.

He said: "I understand but I will work hard to make changes. I respect everybody but now my problem is not Lineker or Redknapp, my focus is on Leicester.

"Look, for me work is very important. I love my job, I want to improve all my players, I want to improve everything.

"I think it is good when the field speaks - the games, the points we achieve are important. Other things are not important.

"Also in Greece I wanted to build something but it's difficult to build on the sand."

Ranieri was nicknamed the Tinkerman during his four years with Chelsea and guided them to second in the Barclays Premier League in Roman Abramovich's first season at Stamford Bridge in 2004, before being replaced by Jose Mourinho.

And the 63-year-old believes he was ahead of his time now rotation is a common sight at clubs, insisting he will give the Foxes' youngsters a chance.

"Yes. I think everyone now rotates. The Tinkerman was one, now there are a lot of Tinkermen," he said.

"If you know me well, a lot of young players made their debut with me - (Gianfranco) Zola in Naples, John Terry at Chelsea. I'll look around the academy.

"If there is somebody, I pick him and play him. I have no problem.

"If you remember I had a couple of centre-backs, one was a Euro and World Cup winner, (Marcel) Desailly and (Frank) Leboeuf, and when I watched John Terry in the second team I picked up on him and I put him in the squad.

"If one player is good, he plays."

The Foxes survived last season after winning seven of their final nine games, despite being bottom at Christmas. And Ranieri, who wants up to three new players, believes they can eventually target Europe.

He said: "The target is to maintain the team improvement and to build a solid base, to start to approach the Europa fight."

Press Association

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