Claudio Ranieri has told Leicester City’s bit-part players they will continue to find chances hard to come by while the team is in good form.
Andrej Kramaric is reportedly seeking a move away from the King Power Stadium, while Gokhan Inler, who arrived from Napoli in the summer, may consider a loan switch in January to protect his Euro 2016 hopes with Switzerland.
Summer buy Yohan Benalouane is also yet to start in the league this season ahead of Saturday’s trip to Swansea City.
Ranieri said: “It is difficult, they must understand I can only choose the first 11. Why change when the first 11 are playing well and link together. The players think about the single. ‘Why don’t I play? I am working well. What can I do better to go on the team?’ But the manager has to choose.
“I don’t want a player who isn’t playing to be happy. It is stupid. You have to fight. You have to be ready when I give you an opportunity to play.
“It is important you understand my philosophy. I manage in this way. I think about team, you think about yourself.”
But Ranieri refused to rule out allowing players to leave in January if it benefits all parties.
He said: “Maybe when you are unhappy, you come to me and there is a window and say: ‘I am sorry I want to play, can I go?’
“If somebody comes to me and says ‘coach I want to play’ we can open our little window if it is convenient for us.
“Kramaric is a fantastic player, but in this moment I choose other kinds of strikers, I understand the players who don’t play, it is normal.”
Meanwhile, Ritchie de Laet has been ruled out for a month with an ankle injury, but midfielder Matty James is closing in on a comeback after seven months out with a serious knee injury.