‘Ranieri was too loyal for too long to underperforming players’
My first doubts crept in at the start of October. We were playing Southampton at home and they’d just come back from a Thursday night fixture in Israel. But we sat off them, we didn’t try to attack. It was then I thought that Claudio Ranieri was changing what had made us win the season before.
Looking back, the battle was lost in the summer. We weren’t ambitious enough as a club. Ranieri said that 40 points was the target. That he’d be happy with 17th position. But we’d just won the league by 10 points! We’d been playing out of our skin, with great confidence and then the players are told to go out and get half of what they got the season before. That must have been demoralising and made it more difficult for Ranieri to motivate them to go out and play well.
So he took away our confidence and he took away our fast football. He also made some bizarre decisions. That first game at Hull he changed the side from the one that won the league and, obviously, we lost. We played the wrong formations at the wrong time; 4-4-2 away and lone forwards at home. Probably our best player this season, Demarai Gray, couldn’t get in the side while Ahmed Musa, who is nothing more than a pace merchant, was obviously a liability.
There are mitigating circumstances. Our recruitment was dire. We could have signed players with Premier League experience but we gambled on Musa and Luis Hernández, who we sold again five months later. And while people talk about an absence of loyalty in football, Ranieri was too loyal for too long to underperforming players.
We’ve now blown a massive opportunity for the club to cement its long-term aim of competing regularly in Europe. This season has taken us back to where we started. But this is probably the best decision for all parties. Ranieri will never be the manager who won the league but got relegated. Yes, he’s had his P45, but he should also get a statue, a stand and the freedom of the city. Ranieri has taken one for the team.Chris Whiting
‘He had earned the right to try and keep us up’
It made me feel physically sick when I heard. I just couldn’t understand the timing, especially after Wednesday. Leicester City can still progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and with a Vardy goal as well. It’s the first positivity we’ve had in months.
Yes, the league position is precarious but in my opinion sacking Claudio Ranieri is wrong, full stop. He won the league with a club that would never have thought it possible. I didn’t expect to see it in my lifetime and I’m 23!
A bit of loyalty wouldn’t have gone amiss. Fans are calling for Nigel Pearson to come back but we wouldn’t have won the league with him. Ranieri’s way with the media, his calmness behind the scenes, pulled us through those final games last season. I think he had earned the right to try and keep us up.
I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, perhaps it had nothing to do with the players. But I certainly think that none of those players could have spoken to the owner and said, “I want Ranieri out” with their head held high. Vardy, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs, they’re the senior players and they’ve all been terrible this season. If you’re performing like that and earning £100,000 a week, how can you say that about your manager? For that matter, in which other business could you ever say that?
The owners have done great for this club. Over the past seven years we’ve gone from strength to strength and I don’t think we could have won the league without them either. I don’t criticise them but I think maybe they have seen what’s in the media, felt the pressure and thought they had to do something.
The number of fans who wanted Ranieri out was very small. There’s 13 games to go, we don’t have a manager and we’re on the edge of the relegation zone. I think Monday night against Liverpool will be very interesting; there will be boos all around the stadium I think. Grace Morgan