Ranieri disappointed by dropped points at Villa

Date published: Saturday 16th January 2016 9:11

Claudio Ranieri: Looking to buy new striker in January

Claudio Ranieri felt Leicester City had dropped two points in being held to a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

The Foxes lead the Premier League table by a point after the stalemate at Villa Park, where Shinji Okazaki’s fifth goal of the season put the visitors ahead.

Mark Bunn kept Villa within touching distance by saving Riyad Mahrez’s first-half penalty, allowing Rudy Gestede to cash in with 15 minutes left.

The substitute’s deflected effort beat Kasper Schmeichel and left Ranieri frustrated after missing the chance to move three points clear.

“Yes, we lost two points,” Ranieri said. “We started very well and scored a goal but after the missed penalty the Aston Villa players took a new energy. If we score a second goal, we close the match.

“We are very sad, but also I say to the players ‘if we make the performance the result is not important’. The performance was good because we played well in the first half.

“It’s one point, it’s okay, it’s a derby – but we are disappointed.”

Things could have been so different had Mahrez not missed a second successive penalty, but Ranieri refused to say whether the winger would lose spot-kick duties.

“Now is not important if I change the penalty man,” the Italian said. “I’ll speak with him and then I’ll choose.

“From the bench it was difficult to see if it was handball but if it’s a penalty it’s a red card.”

Leicester have won once in their last five league games as they try to keep their challenge on track.

Arsenal will overtake them on goal difference with a point at Stoke on Sunday, but Ranieri insists he would not watch their title rivals.

“Maybe I will go with my family to the restaurant,” he said. “It’s not important now for us. It’s only January.

“If we stay at the top of the league (later in the season), I will also watch the other teams.”

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