Claudio Ranieri ready to tinker with Leicester's line-up

By dsguser
12 February 2017

Claudio Ranieri believes he may have been too loyal to his misfiring Premier League champions and suggested he is ready to ditch some of his struggling stars after watching Leicester fall deeper into relegation trouble with a 2-0 defeat at Swansea.

The Foxes suffered a fifth consecutive loss as goals from Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson saw the Swans boost their own survival hopes at the Liberty Stadium.

The result sees Leicester slip one place above the bottom three and increased the chances of them becoming the first defending champions to be relegated since 1938, while they are the first title holders to lose five games of their defence in a row since 1956.

The likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater have been pale imitations of the players who starred in the Foxes' thrilling triumph and they were off the pace again in South Wales.

And Ranieri, when asked if he had been too loyal to his players, admitted maybe he had given them too many chances to turn around an increasingly wretched campaign.

"I could be (too loyal), could be," said the Italian. "It is difficult when you achieve something so good, you want to give them one chance, two chances, three chances. Maybe now, it is too much."

He added: "Of course I must change something because it is not possible to continue in this way."

The 65-year-old still feels he is the right man for the job at the end of a week where Leicester's owners felt the need to publicly back the former Chelsea boss.

"Yes, I think I am still the right man for the job," he said.

"I always question myself but I always say 'come on, we can do something good'.

"I think the strength of the man is to have the right balance. Not to be so high when you win; not to be so down when you lose.

"You can remember what we did last season but you need to stay with your feet on the ground and say we have to react together.

"I don't think the players have lost belief. When I listen to them speaking, they want to react and do something better. That is important because I am confident when I listen to these words.

"But we have to find a solution soon."

Ranieri also said he had no plans to speak to the club's owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The contest had been a cagey affair with little in the way of goalmouth action before Mawson gave Swansea the lead with his third goal in six games.

Leicester failed to clear a free-kick and Federico Fernandez knocked the ball back for his centre-half partner to power home an unstoppable volley.

Olsson then got the crucial second in first-half stoppage-time, racing up from left-back onto Gylfi Sigurdsson's pinpoint through ball to smash a shot past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

It means Swansea have climbed from the bottom of the table to 15th since Paul Clement took over, and the head coach praised Mawson and his team.

"His overall performance was very good, it's down to hard work on the training ground, instructions from the coaching staff and he had a good game," Clement said.

"We have worked with all of the back-four combinations, doing unit work with those in the team and not in the team.

"I have been impressed with our belief. I don't know what it was like before but it has been good since I have been here.

"The first time I walked in was before the Crystal Palace game at the hotel. The team had been picked, I asked them if they were up for the fight, they showed it straight away and have done every game since."

The one low point for Swansea was an Achilles injury suffered by Nathan Dyer during the opening exchanges and Clement admitted the initial prognosis was not good.

"I don't know how bad it is until he has a scan. The initial prognosis doesn't look very good," he added.

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