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Saturday 10 December 2016

No friendly fire from Foxes in Wembley tie

'Claudio Ranieri dismissed any suggestions the Wembley showpiece is a friendly.' Photo: Reuters
'Claudio Ranieri dismissed any suggestions the Wembley showpiece is a friendly.' Photo: Reuters

Leicester City are preparing for tomorrow's Community Shield against FA Cup winners Manchester United at Wembley ahead of the start of their title defence at Hull next Saturday.

Ahmed Musa, Papy Mendy and Luis Hernandez could all make their debuts after signing in the summer, and manager Claudio Ranieri dismissed any suggestions the Wembley showpiece is a friendly as he prepares for his managerial debut at the stadium.

"Why do you ask this question, a friendly? When is the Community Shield a friendly?" he said. "Of course we will be at the maximum and Manchester United will be at their maximum.

"The two teams want to win. I am very excited.

"When I was in the final of the FA Cup (with Chelsea against Arsenal in 2002) Wembley was being rebuilt and we played in Cardiff. But I was there for the first match at the new Wembley."

The game is Jose Mourinho's first United match in England since being appointed boss at Old Trafford in May.

Mourinho was sacked at Chelsea following a 2-1 defeat at Leicester in December.

"We are used to living with the pressure and without pressure we are not the same," Ranieri added.

"Jose always tries to win and his career speaks for itself."

Jamie Vardy has recovered from an arm operation, stemming from a fractured wrist last September, but is still likely to wear a protective cast.

Meanwhile, Leicester's players have been given a brand new BMW i8 each as a reward for their title-winning heroics of last season.

The Foxes, 5,000/1 outsiders at the start of last season, shocked the football world by winning the Premier League under Ranieri.

The club have taken delivery of 19 of the £104,500 cars to give to stars such as Vardy and Riyad Mahrez as part of their bonus for lifting the trophy.

When asked would he be receiving a car, the Italian smiled: "Some gifts are only for them? Not for me? I want to speak with my owner.

"I am thinking only about the match, not about the cars."

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