Leicester will play Watford on Sunday with a very special man returning to the club. Claudio Ranieri is at present manager of The Hornets and has shocked Everton and Man Utd in his current return to English football.
Since leaving Leicester in 2017 Claudio has travelled Europe and been in charge of Nantes, Fulham, Roma, Sampdoria and Watford. A special man for all us foxes fans as he did win Premier League in his only full season as Leicester manager.
He came in with doubts among many fans and had just left a job as national coach of Greece, defeat against Fareo Islands was among the results he did see in that job and not really good for his all in all impressive CV.
Claudio Ranieri came to Leicester with a totally different approach than Nigel Pearson who had steared Leicester to safety the year before, changing the approach of the team and really done a transition when the great escape occured. Leicester had become a counter attacking team, but the final touch of magic came from the Italian who made the pairing of Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy a key to further success.
Players such as Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez did also fly out from the blocks and had a grand lift in performance under Claudio Ranieri who just played a steady team week in and week out in the same formation and with the same attitude, they were flying manager, players an fans in a united energy bowl never seen anywhere in my life as a football follower.
The impact of N’Golo Kantè was also of great importance and maybe the single factor that lifted this team to their peak performances as the little French diamond did fantastic in his first season in Premier League coming a bit from the unknown at French club Caen.
Leicester did fly in Premier League and to win the trophy was unreal and a feeling of something very strong, that will always be united with the management of Claudio Ranieri. He also left the club close to getting over their dip in form doing the signing of Wilfred Ndidi, but the owners didn’t feel safe and moves was made after that Sevilla game away in February 2017.
We all felt the nerve and no one was happy with the form that had seen Leicester close to the relegation zone and as we all know half a season not able to close the gap after N’Golo Kantè who had left for Chelsea, a massive kick in the teeth for all Leicester fans and also for Claudio Ranieri.
The gap was and would never be closed but TCF feel that a Leicester team with or without N’Golo Kantè is a very different team and Ranieri looked for answers and did find a solution half a season after in Wilfred Ndidi, but not really the same player, but had Leicester got the tall and talented midfielder in from the summer we feel that Ranieri’s life at Leicester would have been very different.
Doing errors in the transfer market is also difficult to change as Islam Slimani, Ahmed Musa, Ron-Robert Zieler, Bartosz Kapustka, Luis Hernandez and Papy Mendy were brought in and in real none of those players made a difference and it looked like signings with no purpose and it all unsettled the squad heavily and strangely it was all done under the guidence of Claudio Ranieri.
Leicester had a relatively old squad when winning Premier League and most games were played with little or almost no possession at all. TCF questioned the squad logistics at this point as strange and with N’Golo Kantè the only player leaving among the best eleven it was no need for all this. Andy King, Matty James and Gokhan Inler were all at the club and could have slotted in to that midfield position before a new and correct signing was done in Wilfred Ndidi.
We all hoped that Claudio Ranieri would have been given time to find back to the best form but he was not really settled with the counterattacking style and did fall on that as we did see his assistant Craig Shakespeare turning back the clock and saved the season in a good way ending 12th.
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