Leicester V West Brom at The King Power Stadium : Match Preview

05 November 2016
Leicester V West Brom - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Claudio Ranieri tells Leicester defence to keep it tight against West Brom

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri feels his team's recent improvement defensively holds the key to the champions climbing up the Premier League table.

The Foxes have kept four clean sheets in the last seven matches in all competitions, after preventing the opposition from scoring in just three of their first nine games of the season.

Ranieri's side have reserved their best form for the Champions League so far and are on the brink of qualification for the knockout stage after not conceding a goal in the competition.

Leicester are 11th in the Premier League table ahead of this weekend's round of fixtures and will hope to extend their unbeaten run to three games at home to West Brom on Sunday, which would be their longest league streak without defeat this campaign.

"We are getting better. But it's not only the defenders, all the team now is better with the fighting spirit of the squad," Ranieri said.

"We improve because it is not only the defenders, but everybody. It comes from the philosophy that when you lose the ball, you must get it back.

"Now we want to stop conceding goals. This is the base to improve your place in the table. Don't concede and sooner or later you score and can win.

"For us it is important to keep going in this movement. We want to improve our table position so this match against West Brom is a match that we must win or try to win."

The last three meetings between Leicester and West Brom have seen 14 goals scored, with last season's corresponding fixture finishing 2-2 after Ranieri's side triumphed 3-2 at The Hawthorns.

The Italian is expecting another open encounter but would settle for a 1-0 win heading into the two-week international break.

"I expect the same match as last season - a very tough match," he said. "They defend and counter-attack very well. For me, Tony Pulis is a very good manager and we expect this kind of match. But maybe just one goal this time - for us."

Leicester will be without goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel on Sunday after he fractured a bone in his hand against FC Copenhagen in midweek, so summer signing Ron-Robert Zieler will get a run in the team.

Striker Islam Slimani is expected to return to the squad after a thigh injury, while Ranieri hinted at changes to his starting line-up, with the likes of Andy King, Marc Albrighton, Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki vying for recalls along with Slimani.

West Brom defender Jonny Evans can understand why Leicester are struggling to juggle the demands of the Premier League and Champions League but will not underestimate them in Sunday's trip to the King Power Stadium.

The former Manchester United man told Premier League Productions: "They can really, really hurt you if you're not careful.

"I think the European football is suiting them at the minute because teams aren't used to the way they play.

"Their counter-attacking football was what caused the other Premier League teams so many problems last year and they're still very capable of causing those problems.

"I think people underestimate how difficult it is to go away in Europe in the week and then play in the Premier League at the weekend.

"You've not had much rest and you've given everything you can in the European games. It's very difficult and I've experienced that myself.

"You have to be able to rotate your squad in a way that means you can perform in both competitions.

"Their Premier League form has suffered a little bit from that but I'm sure they're not panicking and they're enjoying the experience."

West Brom will be without Nacer Chadli and James McClean due to injury and suspension respectively, and that could mean a first start of the season for 17-year-old midfielder Jonathan Leko.

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