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Claudio Ranieri says Leicester have no relegation concerns and will bounce back

Leicester will turn things around, says Claudio Ranieri
Image: Leicester will turn things around, says Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri has defended Leicester's stuttering form and insists there won't be any fears over a relegation battle.

The reigning Premier League champions have picked up just eight points from the first eight games having lost four matches this season - one more than last term's title-winning campaign.

Last Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Chelsea left them 11 points behind leaders Manchester City and only two points off the drop zone.

But ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen, Ranieri was in good spirits, with his team boasting a 100 per cent record from two games in Group G and still to concede a goal.

The Italian said: "Sometimes you can play well and sometimes not so well. Like at Manchester United, the first half at Chelsea was no good but in the second half we played very well. I am very confident with my team.

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Premier League highlights of Chelsea 3-0 Leicester from October 15

"They fight and last season we were more compact but now everyone knows about us. Now we are in the balance, in the middle, and not as good as last season but it's normal for a team like Leicester.

"We want to improve but it's normal when we start the season to have something to work on because new players have come and everything is new. Maybe we want to do something more but we are Leicester, we're a good team and we have to show our qualities.

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"I think we can fight in every match. Now our training sessions are Premier League and Champions League. We are getting better and have to be solid and strong and don't make any pressure about relegation."

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Jamie Vardy was heavily criticised in some quarters, particularly Alan Shearer, following the Stamford Bridge loss, but Ranieri defended his striker by stating he gave the Englishman, who has not scored for club and country in eight games, instructions to stay with defender David Luiz.

Ranieri added: "I think ex-players can say everything. Shearer is a fantastic scorer but some months you can score, some months you can't.

"If he's speaking about Chelsea I told Jamie to stay with David Luiz. I wanted to give a point of reference to my players, counter attack and leave him with David Luiz - not his fault, it's mine maybe.

"It's important he stays calm, keeps his strength and he will score a goal."

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Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani will return after starting on the bench at Chelsea and Ranieri admitted Leicester's back-to-back games against Copenhagen will define their Champions League future, with the reverse fixture in Denmark on November 2.

"At this moment it's a priority because in the Premier League we must be safe at the end of the year, the Champions League is now," he said.

"The next two are very important for us and will tell us what we can do in the Champions League."

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