THE day after Leicester’s 2-1 defeat away to Sevilla in the Champions League, the man who orchestrated one of the greatest underdog stories in footballing history, Claudio Ranieri, was relieved of his managerial duties at the King Power Stadium. But what is next for the Premier League holders and who can lead them out of the relegation battle that they have been dragged into.
Must win game against Liverpool
First step for the 18th placed side will be to pick up 3 points against Liverpool. With the amount of games dwindling down and nearby sides gaining momentum, Leicester need a win and a much welcomed confidence boost will come with victory against Liverpool. The Reds themselves haven’t had the best of form in 2017 and have only accumulated 6 points from a possible 18 this calendar year. This crucial fixture could swing either sides campaigns.
The man who will be in charge for the fixture at the King Power Stadium will be caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare and the Englishman isn’t looking past Monday nights tie.
“My remit is to get the players fit and ready for the Liverpool game. We need to make sure that we get back to winning ways. How we do that, again, I will address the players in the morning. Our focus must be on getting three points on Monday night.”
Stick or Twist?
Monday nights game against Liverpool could also have implications in who will guide the club to safety. The Leicester board were aiming to move on Ranieri as quick as possible that it didn’t allow them time to think of a suitable long-term manager to replace the Italian. This may allow Craig Shakespeare time to potentially stake his claim for the permanent role of Leicester City manager. However, a loss on Monday may cause the board to come to a quick solution in order to fight for their Premier League status. So, who’s in the frame for the Foxes job?
The frontrunner and bookies favourite is former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini. The Italian is a former player of Leicester and many believe he has what it takes to lead Leicester to safety. Mancini is closely followed by another former Premier League manager in Alan Pardew. The Englishman, previously in charge of Crystal Palace earlier in the season and has managed to save previous sides from relegation. A surprising name in the hat for the job is former manager Nigel Pearson. Pearson left the club in the summer of 2015 after leading his side to Premier League survival after being 7 point’s adrift at the bottom.
Heroes turned Villains
The sacking of Claudio Ranieri has left a dent on Leicester’s reputation and many neutrals who celebrated their 2016 title success are now hoping to see the club drop out of the top flight. Many reports have suggested that it was the players themselves who encouraged the sacking of Ranieri. However, the players have responded on various social media platforms defending themselves and insisted that they weren’t hoping to see their manager get the sack. Jamie Vardy announced in an Instagram post that he was upset with the reports.
“There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this is completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful. The only thing we are guilty of as a team is underachieving, which we all acknowledge both in the dressing room and publicly, and will do our best to rectify.”
For the Premier League holders to drop out of the league after such a magnificent season last year would be a prospect that many will consider unthinkable. Unfortunately for Leicester fans that prospect could well become a reality come May if the side continue to struggle.