Under-fire Ranieri receives support from club owners

After recent defeat, media speculation suggested that the Italian was on the brink of being dismissed

Afp February 07, 2017

LONDON: Claudio Ranieri was told he is safe from the sack on Tuesday as the Thai owners of struggling champions Leicester vowed their "unwavering support" to the under-fire manager.

Ranieri's side are just one point above the relegation zone after Sunday's 3-0 defeat against Manchester United and speculation had mounted that the Italian was on the brink of being dismissed.

But amid reports that Ranieri has lost his players' backing, Leicester's owners have tried to ease the crisis by making it clear they still believe in the man who led the Foxes to an against-the-odds Premier League title triumph last season.

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"In the light of recent speculation, Leicester City Football Club would like to make absolutely clear its unwavering support for its first-team manager Claudio Ranieri," a statement on the club's website read.

"While there is a collective appreciation from everyone at the club that recent form needs to improve, the unprecedented success achieved in recent seasons has been based firmly on stability, togetherness and determination to overcome even the greatest of challenges.

"The entire club is and will remain united behind its manager and behind its players, collectively and firmly focused on the challenges ahead."

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With an FA Cup fourth-round replay against second-tier Derby at the King Power Stadium looming on Wednesday, Ranieri will welcome the vote of confidence.

But an embarrassing defeat to their local rivals would put the pressure back on Ranieri, whose team have lost their last four league matches and face a crucial clash at fellow strugglers Swansea on Sunday.