Ranieri’s 40-point mantra no laugh­ing mat­ter for Le­ices­ter

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Le­ices­ter City man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri spent the first half of last sea­son talk­ing about reach­ing the 40-point thresh­old to avoid rel­e­ga­tion be­fore his side gal­loped away with the ti­tle. That was mainly in jest but if Le­ices­ter’s Premier League re­sults do not im­prove soon the Ital­ian will be taken more se­ri­ously if he starts trot­ting out the same old line.

While it is far too early to panic, 12 points from their first 11 games has left the Foxes two points above the bot­tom three and any talk of de­fend­ing the ti­tle, or even claim­ing a top-four spot, are long gone. In­stead, Le­ices­ter find them­selves in the more fa­mil­iar po­si­tion of jostling with the likes of Hull City, Bournemouth and Sun­der­land in the bot­tom half.

For­mer Le­ices­ter striker Emile Heskey said they need points soon to set­tle the nerves.

“I think they’re prob­a­bly con­cerned now, but it’s very tight at the bot­tom so one win can take you to mid-table and you look rel­a­tively okay, but then two losses can get you sucked back in again,” he told Sky Sports.

“Know­ing the own­ers and some of the back­room staff, I know last year they were look­ing to get to 40 points, but they kept on win­ning games. Re­ally deep down they should be look­ing at the 40 points and then tak­ing it from there.” Un­til Sun­day’s 2-1 de­feat by West Bromwich Al­bion, Le­ices­ter’s home form had con­tin­ued in the same vein as last sea­son with three wins and two draws.

Wor­ry­ingly, how­ever, West Brom eas­ily nul­li­fied Le­ices­ter’s counter-at­tack­ing style as they in­flicted a first home league de­feat on Ranieri’s men since Septem­ber 2015.

With an ap­palling away record of one point from 15 this sea­son, the last thing Le­ices­ter need is a home slump.

Against West Brom they failed to reg­is­ter an at­tempt on tar­get in the first half while at the back they were guilty of wor­ry­ing lapses, none more so than Danny Drinkwa­ter’s er­rant back­pass that al­lowed Matt Phillips to score the win­ner. Riyad Mahrez, last year’s PFA player of the sea­son, has failed to shine while Jamie Vardy’s goal have dried up to such an ex­tent that he was on the bench on Sun­day.

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