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Friday 9 December 2016

Ranieri favours risk and Reward strategy

Gamble on Ulloa pays off to keep Foxes top

Leonardo Ulloa got a late goal against Norwich City at The King Power Stadium. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leonardo Ulloa got a late goal against Norwich City at The King Power Stadium. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Boss Claudio Ranieri is ready to risk dropping points to keep Leicester's title bid alive.

The Foxes' late 1-0 win over Norwich on Saturday kept them top of the Premier League after boss Ranieri's tinkering.

The Italian scarified right back Daniel Amartey for striker Leonardo Ulloa with 12 minutes left and the former Brighton man won it 10 minutes later.

Tottenham's 2-1 win over Swansea yesterday cut the gap at the top to two points and Ranieri said he will always be willing to gamble if it means they can maintain their charge.

"Yes. I took a lot of risks. I said: 'In or out - it's not important now.' One point is nothing - we have to win," he said.

"You can lose but it's only one point less than a draw. Yes, we took the risk but the manager is hired for this reason, to take a risk."

But, despite staying top, Ranieri was not willing to talk too much about Leicester's title chances.

He added: "I understand everyone asks will we win the title? I don't know. Let me now get past the next four matches, then I might say something more! I can't tell you too much for another month."

The goal was just Ulloa's third of the season with the forward having started only five league games and he admitted the pressure is now on Leicester, ahead of tomorrow's visit of West Brom.

Ulloa added: "Every game is difficult for us. People think it's easy for Leicester. It's not. Every game is never easy. It's important to stay focus and to give 100 per cent because against Norwich it was so difficult and against West Brom it will be the same.

"It's different when you play against big teams but we knew this would be difficult and was more difficult than Arsenal because the pressure is on us, not for them."

But Ranieri insisted the former Brighton man, and the rest of his squad, are united as they chase the top prize.

"Ulloa is happy but everyone is happy. When one man scores a goal, all of Leicester City Football Club are happy," he said.

"Everybody is happy because the team is playing well and is top of the league.

"Everyone would like to play, but it's not possible. They believe in the project and they believe their team-mates are playing well.

"For me it's important to believe in them because, when I need some changes, they are ready.

"For this reason I've said many times we have a fantastic dressing room."

Norwich are above the drop zone on goal difference and captain Russell Martin insisted they can survive ahead of tomorrow's visit of Chelsea and Saturday's trip to drop rivals Swansea.

"We've got 11 games left, none of them are going to be easy, that's for sure," he said. "These two are extremely tough. We've got plenty of teams in and around us in the next few weeks.

"But Tuesday is a game at home against a Chelsea team that have been indifferent this season in their form, so we'll go and have a go and attack it, like we did against Leicester."

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