Wednesday 16 January 2019

Ranieri demands more of same from Slimani

Islam Slimani
Islam Slimani

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has thrown down the gauntlet to Islam Slimani after the striker's latest winner.

The forward scored to beat West Ham 1-0 on Saturday and the Foxes go to Middlesbrough today still searching for their first Premier League away win of the season.

Ranieri's side are six points clear of the relegation zone and two ahead of Boro as they look to win on the road in the top flight for the first time since last April.

Slimani now has six goals for the champions following his record £30million move from Sporting Lisbon in the summer and Ranieri believes he can get better.

"Of course he can only improve. When somebody comes from another country it is not easy and some players need six or seven months or one year to be involved in the atmosphere of English football," he said.

"Slimani's header was a masterpiece. He scored six goals and it is good for us but we have to find him much better because he has very good quality and also he presses a lot and sometimes he can make mistakes because he is very tired but it is okay."

Slimani will go to the African Nations Cup with Algeria team-mate Riyad Mahrez this month and Ranieri hopes others will step into his place.

Daniel Amartey and Jeff Schlupp are also due to link up with Ghana next week.

Jamie Vardy serves the final game of his three-match ban and will sit out the trip to Middlesbrough.

Christian Fuchs could return for Ben Chilwell at left-back with Ranieri expected to shuffle his squad after Saturday's 1-0 win over West Ham.

Meanwhile, Leicester's Premier League title defence has gone so badly Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka now considers them "direct opponents" in the survival battle.

"Now is the most important game in the season because it is the next one and it is against a direct opponent," said Karanka.

"All this season these are the kind of games we have to win."

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