Claudio says Leicester are still 'fearless' despite poor league form
Last Updated: 01/12/16 3:48pm
Claudio Ranieri insists his Leicester side are still “fearless” despite their struggles domestically this season.
The Premier League champions sit in 14th place, just two points above the relegation zone.
Leicester, who travel to face Sunderland on Saturday, are winless in their last four league games but Ranieri is not concerned about getting pulled into a relegation dogfight.
"We don't look at the table with fear because Foxes are fearless," Ranieri said, ahead of their trip to the Stadium of Light.
"Whenever we play we try to win. We know on Saturday Sunderland has a chance to win. It will be a fight for all the 90 minutes.
"They play so strong, defend well and deep. We both want to win so it will be an open match I think."
There was good news on the injury front for Leicester as Ranieri revealed he hopes to have Kasper Schmeichel back before Christmas.
The Denmark international has been out for a month after breaking his hand in the Foxes' goalless Champions League draw in Copenhagen.
Replacement Ron-Robert Zieler has conceded 16 goals in eight games and has kept just one clean sheet.
Ranieri said: "I hope before Christmas Day he'll be ready. It depends on him and the surgeon but his fitness is getting better. He is working on a normal training session, separately.
"I shake his hand and he always gives me his left hand but today I said give me his right and shook it - gently - not like [Marcin] Wasilewski."
Ranieri could have Nampalys Mendy in his squad at the Stadium of Light after the midfielder finally shook off an ankle injury which has sidelined him since August.
He suffered the injury on his full debut against Arsenal but may make the bench along with fellow ankle injury victim Ben Chilwell.
"Everybody's available and they trained very well. It's an important match for them and us and we are ready," said Ranieri.
"Mendy and Chilwell are back training with the first team and they are available. Of course they don't have 90 minutes under them but are okay."
Meanwhile, Ranieri refused to be drawn on links to Genk midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, despite reports suggesting the champions are close to a £14m deal.
"I can tell you it's only speculation and I don't talk about players coming in or going out. I'm sorry, I don't speak, I'm only a coach," he added.