English Premiership

Ranieri savours inspired Ulloa punt

2016-02-28 15:19
Leonardo Ulloa (AFP)

Leicester - Claudio Ranieri savoured a gamble that paid rich dividends after Leicester City got their Premier League title challenge back on track by beating Norwich City.

Ranieri rolled the dice by sending on Leonardo Ulloa in place of defender Daniel Amertey in a bold attempt to break down Norwich's brave resistance in Saturday's encounter, and it did the trick.

Ulloa slid home an 89th-minute winner to give the Premier League leaders a hard-fought 1-0 victory that gave them a five-point lead at the top of the table.

"It was a good choice," said the Leicester manager with a wry smile.

"I tried to make some changes to spread out their defensive line with (Jeff) Schlupp on the left and Riyad (Mahrez) on the right and after I also put on Ulloa because I needed another goalscorer in the box.

"Leonardo is happy, everybody is happy because the team are at the top of the league. Everyone would like to play, but it is not possible.

"As I have said many times, we have a fantastic dressing room. All of my players believe in the project and back their team-mates when they are playing well. When I need some changes, they are ready to come in."

Ranieri was not surprised that his side had to work so hard to claim the three points and praised Norwich for the way in which they battled for so long.

"We expected the battle. I want to say also well done to the Norwich players because it was a very good battle," said the charismatic Italian.

"In the first half, we try to find a solution, but it was difficult because Norwich played just to maintain the clean sheet."

He added: "In the second half, they wanted to win, and there was a time with 20 minutes to go, it was an open match -- we can score, they can score, we can score. It was amazing.

"It was a tough match, but I am very, very happy because it was important to restart after the (2-1) Arsenal defeat. I think not always you can play well.

"Today, I am happy if I can win 11 matches without playing well. It is not important to play well or not -- it is important to take the points. Our fans understood our difficulties and push behind us a lot."

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11 December 2016
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, Stamford Bridge 14:00
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford 16:15
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Liverpool v West Ham United, Anfield 18:30
13 December 2016
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AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City, Vitality Stadium 21:45
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