Ranieri ‘proud’ of Leicester despite sixth league defeat

Date published: Saturday 19th November 2016 9:36

Claudio Ranieri: Leicester deserved a point

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri rued a slow start but insisted he was proud of his players’ performance in the Premier League champions’ 2-1 loss at Watford.

The Foxes, surprise title winners last season, have just one point from six away matches this term after suffering a sixth loss in 12 games.

Etienne Capoue scored after 33 seconds and Roberto Pereyra’s fine strike after 13 minutes doubled the advantage.

Riyad Mahrez pulled one back from the penalty spot two minutes later, but Leicester struggled to test Heurelho Gomes in the Watford goal.

“It’s just a bad period now. This period (shows) how big last season was,” Ranieri said.

“That’s it. Now we are in 2016-17 and we have to react, to keep going with this period but of course stay stronger and concentrate from the beginning of the match every time.

“They have very good quality players and scored two fantastic goals.

“We had a very fantastic reaction. We tried to do our best. Of course Gomes didn’t make any saves, but I think until the end we had a chance to score a goal because the team was alive.

“Against us today there was a big wall to stop all our shots at goal.

“But I’m very pleased with our performance. I’m proud of them. At the end we deserved to draw the match.

“Of course, we lost the match, but the spirit is the same. The spirit is high spirit.”

Leicester still have more points than Chelsea, their predecessors as champions, did at the same stage last season. The Blues had 11 after 12 games, but Ranieri’s men are too close to the drop zone for his liking.

Rather than dwell on the early concession of goals and the extension of the winless away run, though, Ranieri preferred to focus on the response.

The Italian added: “We have the kick-off and after 35 seconds concede a goal, how can you explain?

“(The issue is) not the confidence. If you don’t have confidence you slip down and don’t try to do the reaction. No, we react very well.”

Striker Islam Slimani was absent with a minor groin problem, but may be available for Tuesday’s clash with Club Brugge, when Leicester bid to reach the Champions League knockout stages.

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri was also pleased with his side’s own reaction after seeing the Hornets thrashed 6-1 by Liverpool last time out.

He said: “We wanted to attack immediately.

“We did the same against Hull City, but unfortunately against Hull City we couldn’t score.

“This is our idea, we want to always attack from the beginning.

“I’m happy for the victory in general. It doesn’t matter that they were the champions of England.

“Mainly I’m happy with the performance because the team played as I like, as I always want them to play, especially after the big defeat against Liverpool.”

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