Wednesday 26 September 2018

Claudio Ranieri: I must earn the Leicester fans trust

Claudio Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri

New boss Claudio Ranieri knows he must repay Leicester's trust after his surprise return to the Barclays Premier League.

The Italian was the shock choice to replace Nigel Pearson after the 51-year-old's exit during a turbulent summer at the King Power Stadium.

Pearson's exit followed the sacking of three players - including his son James - for their part in a sexually-explicit video during which racist language was used.

Ranieri returns to England for the first time since he left Chelsea in 2004, when he guided them to second in Roman Abramovich's first season.

And, ahead of Leicester's opening game at home to Sunderland on August 8, the 63-year-old is aware he must get results.

"I'm so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City. I have worked at many great clubs, in many top leagues, but since I left Chelsea I have dreamt of another chance to work in the best league in the world again," Ranieri said, after signing a three-year deal.

"I wish to thank the owner, his son and all the executives of the club for the opportunity they are giving me.

"Now I've only one way for returning their trust: squeeze all my energies to getting the best results for the team."

The Foxes' great escape at the end of last season looked to have secured Pearson's future.

They became just the third team in the history of the Premier League to survive after being bottom at Christmas.

Seven wins in their last nine games saved Leicester but a breakdown in his relationship with the club's board sparked Pearson's June exit.

And a touchline blast at a fan, an altercation with Crystal Palace's James McArthur and his bizarre rant at a journalist also tarnished Pearson's reputation during a roller-coaster campaign.

Then came the sacking of his son James who, along with Adam Smith and Tom Hopper, appeared in a leaked sexually-explicit video which also contained racist language during the club's end-of-season tour in Thailand in June.

Before his axing, though, Pearson had already turned Robert Huth's loan move into a permanent deal from Stoke and secured the signing of Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki.

Austria international Christian Fuchs joined on a free transfer from Schalke as part of the Foxes' rebuilding, which included handing Dean Hammond and Jeff Schlupp new deals.

Ranieri must also convince out-of-contract Esteban Cambiasso, who played under him at Inter Milan, to stay after an impressive debut season last term.

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