English Premiership

Leicester chief laughs off player power claims

2017-03-15 11:02
Claudio Ranieri.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Leicester City vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has laughed off suggestions that player power played a role in the Foxes parting ways with Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri was relieved from his post nine months after masterminding one of the biggest upsets in football history by leading Leicester to the Premier League title. 

Whilst the Foxes impressed in the Champions League, the defending Premier League champions struggled domestically this season and with the club just above the relegation zone, Ranieri was relieved of his duties.

Several rumours have surfaced suggesting some senior players have met with members of the Leicester board to discuss the manager, but Srivaddhanaprabha played down any talk of such meetings.

"If you run the business you should understand that, if employees or a director come and ask if you will fire that manager - if I'm that kind of owner - that's lame," Srivaddhanaprabha, the son of Thai billionaire and Foxes chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, is quoted as saying by Goal.

"They talk about this because they just don't have anything else to pick on us."

"We want to ensure that we're 100 per cent staying (in the Premier League), but his new method (changing tactics) to improve the team was not working.

"Players don't understand how to play and need time to adjust. The results were not what this town and also the world were expecting.

"I spoke since last year that Leicester could be in relegation battle this season because this is football, always uncertain. But certainly I made this team to be 'a team' and try to make it the best. We knew that some change will shock the players and lead them to fight more.

"In my view, the manager has to rely on his results. Some were champions last year, then ended up sixth and got fired."

Srivaddhanaprabha added that the departure of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea last summer played a significant role in the team's struggles this season, saying the Frenchman has proved harder to replace than they first thought.

"We lost our important player from last season, obviously Kante. We have to admit that he's hard to replace. We tried, but it's very challenging to do," he continued.

"The other things is, our players are still human beings. They won the unexpected championship, which cooled their passion, their determination.

"Newcomers also had to adapt to old players as well. We used to play the same 14-15 players through the relegation battle to winning the league. This season we added a lot of players for Champions League and it turns out that the harmony declined."

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