English Premiership

Ranieri's unique motivator

2015-09-17 18:37
Claudio Ranieri (File)

London - Claudio Ranieri knows his Leicester City players are hungry for success so the Italian has offered them all a free pizza if they keep a clean sheet at Stoke City this weekend.

The manager fears, however, that the meal deal may not be sufficient.

"I told them 'The clean sheet and I pay a pizza to everybody'," he told reporters on Thursday. "But I think they wait until I improve (the offer)... OK, the pizza and a hot dog."

Asked whether a nice steak dinner might not be more appropriate for a team currently second in the Premier League, Ranieri chuckled.

"Finish the joke, come on," he said.

Unbeaten Leicester have taken 11 points from a maximum 15 after waging a remarkable battle against relegation last season and scored 11 goals.

But they have yet to keep a clean sheet in any of their games, fighting back from 2-0 against Aston Villa last weekend to win 3-2 with three second-half goals in the space of 17 minutes.

That win was the third league game in a row that Leicester have come from behind to stay unbeaten, and Ranieri said that had to change.

"Coming back from behind might be exciting but it is not good," he said. "I prefer to get in front and stay there than have to keep giving ourselves a problem."

Stoke have yet to win this season but Ranieri warned Leicester faced another tough afternoon.

"Sooner or later they will start to play," he said. "But I hope after Saturday."

Ranieri said on-loan winger Nathan Dyer, who scored an 89th minute headed winner against Villa and was then hit on the head by goalkeeper Brad Guzan, was fit for the match at the Britannia Stadium.

"At the moment there are no injuries," he said.

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Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
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