Claudio Ranieri defends eight changes made in Leicester's FA Cup exit to Tottenham

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at The King Power Stadium, Leicester
Image: Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has backed his team selection

Claudio Ranieri defended his decision to make eight changes following Leicester City's FA Cup exit at the hands of Tottenham.

With the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy only starting the game on the bench, Spurs set up a fourth-round tie with League One Colchester United thanks to goals in either half from Heung-Min Son and Nacer Chadli.

With Leicester well positioned for an assault on a top-four finish in the Premier League and the lure of the riches on offer for Champions League qualification, it seemed clear from the team selection where his priorities lay.

Manager Ranieri initially swapped nine players but Ritchie De Laet was injured during the warm-up so Danny Simpson kept his place along with Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Drinkwater.

Asked if his selection showed he was favouring trying to sustain Leicester's surprise Premier League title challenge over a Cup run, Ranieri replied: "No. Our priority is this also.

"I want to see all my players - like [Mauricio] Pochettino, he also changed a lot of players.

"But for this reason, I say we fight face to face with Tottenham. Leicester fight for four matches with Tottenham and it is good.

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"I am not disappointed with the performance. We play Tottenham four times - won one, lost one and two draws. Tottenham I remember in 2000 when I was here, they try to achieve, or achieve, all the time in Europe.

Son Heung-Min of Spurs celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Cup third round replay against Leicester
Image: Son Heung-Min of Spurs celebrates after scoring the opener against the Foxes

"Now in the last two or three years, they are building a team to win the league and to achieve the Champions League.

"Our journey starts today. I change a lot of players and if we fight very well against this team then I am very pleased with my players.

"When I say our journey starts tonight, it is true because we played at the same level against a big team. Our way is a very good line to follow."

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