Ranieri: I will drop Vardy and Mahrez if I have to

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has revealed that he is willing to drop striker Jamie Vardy and midfielder Riyad Mahrez if they continue failing to have an impact. 

Vardy scored 24 times last season, but has been woefully short of the mark this season as he has failed to find the back of the net in his last 15 games. 

Mahrez, meanwhile, was named PFA Player of the Year for his all-round performance in the 2015/16 campaign, but since the current season started, he has scored seven times and notched up three assists in 19 appearances in all competitions. 

The reigning Premier League champions will take on Sunderland on Saturday and with the team having only won one of their last eight games, Ranieri is prepared to turn his side’s fortunes around with the two superstars. 

"Yes why not? I always try and put the best team on the pitch," he said. "When I think about how we are and how the opponent is I always think about the 90 minutes, not just the line-up.

"Wait until Saturday and you will see. I don't see a difference with Jamie this season and Jamie last season – only the goals. I think he's very close to scoring because it's not possible go to the end of season without scoring.

"He is a character who is not selfish. For me it's important the team scores a goal. Now I'd like Jamie to score a goal so we can say 'now it's your time.'"

When asked about Mahrez’s dip in form, Ranieri said: "I speak to Riyad and with everybody, with Riyad a little more – always with an arm round the shoulder, I kiss him! Maybe he needs more tough love.

"He is intelligent and he understands when my patience is finished or not. You will see [if it is]. I am always the same here [in news conferences] – face to face I change."

Even though Leicester are just two points ahead of the three teams in the relegation zone, Ranieri is not fretting about it at the minute. 

"I'm not looking at the table with fear. Foxes are fearless, so there's no fear," he said.