Ranieri preaches calm af­ter dream Euro­pean start

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

WHILE their fans cel­e­brated a per­fect Cham­pi­ons League de­but, Le­ices­ter City man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri called for no­body to get car­ried away af­ter yes­ter­day’s 3-0 romp away to Club Brugge in Bel­gium.

The Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons might have gone be­hind inside three min­utes at the Jan Brey­del­sta­dion, but in­stead Jose Izquierdo missed a glit-edged op­por­tu­nity for Club Brugge and Marc Al­brighton opened the scor­ing at the other end mo­ments later.

Riyad Mahrez then curled in a free­kick just be­fore the half-hour mark be­fore con­vert­ing a 61st-minute penalty fol­low­ing a foul by goal­keeper Lu­dovic Butelle on Jamie Vardy to hand the Foxes all three points in their first Euro­pean match in 16 years.

“The match could have changed face if they scored at the be­gin­ning, but they lost the chance and our first chance we scored a goal. It was good for us to start our story with a vic­tory,” said Ranieri, whose team bounced back from a 4-1 thump­ing at Liver­pool at the week­end.

“It was im­por­tant to show a reaction af­ter the Liver­pool de­feat. That was very, very im­por­tant.

“I said from the be­gin­ning that the Cham­pi­ons League is an ex­pe­ri­ence for us. We hope to go through the group and play again, but for us also it is im­por­tant if we don’t achieve the first two po­si­tions, to go into the Europa League.

“That’s our tar­get, our de­sire, to con­tinue in Europe. Of course the Cham­pi­ons League is much bet­ter, but now we play just the first match. There are an­other five, so stay calm, hum­ble,” added Ranieri, whose team are al­ready in con­trol of Group G af­ter ri­vals Porto and FC Copen­hagen drew 1-1 in Por­tu­gal.

Porto, twice for­mer Euro­pean cham­pi­ons, visit the King Power Sta­dium next at the end of the month be­fore the Dan­ish cham­pi­ons come to Eng­land in Oc­to­ber.

“It is a big test against ev­ery­body be­cause with Ros­tov we are the only two teams who had never played in the Cham­pi­ons League and for us it is dif­fi­cult to play against teams who have very good ex­pe­ri­ence, like Brugge, Copen­hagen and Porto,” added Ranieri.

“That gives us con­fi­dence and put our minds on the next match on Satur­day.”

As a Euro­pean ex­pe­ri­ence, it could not have been bet­ter. “It’s the per­fect start. We showed ex­actly what we can do. No fear, we just played our football and let that do the talk­ing,” said Eng­land striker Vardy, a con­stant men­ace for the be­wil­dered home back line.

Among the many plus points for Le­ices­ter was the per­for­mance of Mahrez, whose goals were his first since the open­ing day of the Pre­mier League sea­son.

“Maybe the mu­sic wake up him. Maybe he was very, very tired of lis­ten­ing to dilly ding, dilly dong, maybe he pre­ferred the Cham­pi­ons League mu­sic,” said Ranieri, re­vert­ing to a clas­sic catch­phrase.

Club Brugge are left lick­ing their wounds as their poor start to the cam­paign goes on.

“Af­ter two min­utes we could have scored and the game was to­tally dif­fer­ent,” lamented their coach Michel Preud’homme. “We have to per­form bet­ter of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively if we want to win that kind of game.” – AFP

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