Ranieri wants Leicester to show more fight

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has called on his side to put up more of a fight as they hover too close for comfort over the relegation zone. 

The reigning Premier League champions have failed to replicate their success from last season and now find themselves just two points above the bottom three clubs. 

While Leicester’s chances of retaining their Premier League crown are unlikely given their shoddy start to the season, Ranieri, at the very least, wants to see them be more competitive. 

"I don't want to talk about the key players, I speak about the team, OK? And they know, the players, they know very well for me the result in something beside, not the focus," he said. "I want them to play well, to play for the team, to fight, to be strong, competitive, that it what I want. No more.

"But if you lost this, how can you win? I think now not (even) the best players can win without… fight. That is my idea about football, because last season, we won because some teams didn't fight as well as us. And then we must come back, not to win the title, but to defend the title, to not be in the relegation zone. That is what we want to do."

Leicester, who will play Manchester City on Saturday, have failed to triumph in the Premier League since they beat Crystal Palace 3-1 on October 22. 

However, Ranieri pointed out that Chelsea went through the same thing last season after they were crowned champions in the 2014/15 season. 

"Of course, I was waiting for a period like this. If you think what happened last season at Chelsea and they are a little better than us, they were down – why can't it happen to Leicester?" he said. "Now it's important to react, together, and to play for the team."

Ranieri also revealed that he has plans to speak to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and see whether he will be fit enough to feature in the match against City. 
Schmeichel has been out of action for more than a month after fracturing his hand, but he was seen training on Thursday. 

In the time that Schmeichel has been sidelined, Ron-Robert Zieler and Ben Hamer have conceded 14 goals in six games between them. 

"He is getting better and maybe he is ready for the Bournemouth match," said Ranieri. "I think Saturday may be too soon but let me speak with him tomorrow morning. For me the possibility is no, but Kasper is a fighter.

"He didn't feel anything (when he first suffered the injury) and the surgeon is happy and everything is OK." 

Even though City will be without main striker Sergio Aguero as he was banned for four matches for being sent off against Chelsea, Ranieri pointed out that the Citizens will have plenty of other alternatives. 

"There are so many champions, Sergio Aguero, there is Kevin De Bruyne, there is David Silva, there is Kelechi Iheanacho, there are so many," he said. "It is a big team, fantastic players, but I want to see (them) against us, when we are strong."