Gianfranco Zola backs old boss Claudio Ranieri to keep Leicester up

By dsguser
13 February 2017

Gianfranco Zola has backed Claudio Ranieri to keep crumbling champions Leicester in the Premier League.

The Italian, who played for Ranieri at Napoli and Chelsea, believes his former manager deserves time at the King Power Stadium following his stunning title win last season.

The Foxes are just a point above the bottom three after Sunday's 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Swansea - their fifth straight loss. They are yet to score a top-flight goal in 2017.

Leicester's owners gave Ranieri a vote of confidence last week just nine months after he won an improbable Premier League title with the Foxes.

And Birmingham boss Zola feels his old manager will avoid the drop with the struggling champions.

He told Press Association Sport: "I know he is a very capable coach, a very good person and he will produce and give the best. I'm sure they will (stay up). The players will have to step up a bit but you have to be confident in a coach who did what he did last year.

"I don't think Leicester are doing anything differently from what they did last year but this time it seems to me the chemicals are different. You have to keep working and it will come back. I have been through situations like this in my career. You keep doing the right things and it will come back to you.

"That's the magic of football. It appears and disappears very quickly.

"I haven't spoken to him - sometimes it's better to keep quiet - but I wish him all the best."

Zola played for Ranieri at Chelsea between 2000 and 2004 and at Napoli between 1991 and 1993, and understands the growing pressure on the Italian.

Zola has won just once in 12 games after replacing Gary Rowett at Sky Bet Championship side Birmingham in December but said the experienced Ranieri would not be fazed by Leicester's struggles.

He added: "It's our life, we know as a coach, our world is very unstable so you have to be used to that. You have to be prepared and be strong in these moments and don't lose your focus and concentration.

"This is our world, this is my world and I have to live in it. It doesn't take away any enthusiasm, any passion for the game and it doesn't change my idea how football should be done."

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