English Premier League 2015-16

Ranieri ready to gamble again as Leicester’s title quest continues against West Brom

Italian manager admits he ‘takes a lot of risks’ as they go for second home win in four days

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 February, 2016, 11:05am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 February, 2016, 11:05am

Leicester City face the next test in their extraordinary Premier League title challenge with manager Claudio Ranieri prepared to take more risks in search of victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Ranieri’s boldness was rewarded on Saturday as his substitutions paid off with a late 1-0 win against Norwich City.

And the Italian is ready to take the bull by the horns again on Tuesday as Leicester look to claim a second home win in four days and extend their fairytale season.

Leicester answered another major question about their title credentials on Saturday when they demonstrated their patience and nerve to score in the 89th minute through Leonardo Ulloa after being frustrated by Norwich.

Success came after Ranieri threw caution to the wind by sacrificing a defender to deploy a 3-5-2 system late on.

“I take a lot of risks,” said Ranieri, whose side go into the game two points clear of second-place Tottenham Hotspur at the summit.

“One point is nothing – we had to win. If you lose, it is just one point less.

“We took the risk and the manager is hired for this reason, to take a risk. I enjoy it when there is something to do from my side and Saturday was good.

“When you change and the change finds the solution, it is fantastic.”

Ranieri is likely to be forced into a change to his starting line-up against West Brom after N’Golo Kante, one of the stars of Leicester’s season, suffered a hamstring injury against Norwich.

One point is nothing – we had to win. If you lose, it is just one point less
Claudio Ranieri

Andy King is the Frenchman’s likely replacement after figuring as a substitute on Saturday, while right-back Danny Simpson is available again after serving a one-match suspension.

The right-back could return at the expense of January signing Daniel Amartey, who made his debut against Norwich.

“Kante felt something in his hamstring and we managed him during the training sessions,” said Ranieri.

“I think it is nothing serious and I hope he is not out for so long. I hope Kante is ready. I don’t know about the next match, but maybe next Saturday.

“I hope he is ready because he is an important player. But King replaced him very, very well.”

The Italian added: “This win gives us confidence going into a tough derby. If you score at the end of the match, that means the fitness and the stamina is OK.”

West Brom will also be forced into at least one change after Chris Brunt suffered a knee injury in their 3-2 home win against Crystal Palace.

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The left-back, who is awaiting news from a scan amid fears of cruciate ligament damage, is expected to be replaced by James Chester.

Saido Berahino is set to start again after demonstrating his return to form with a fine goal and an impressive performance against Palace just 24 hours after he apologised for his threat to go on strike last year.

Captain Darren Fletcher said: “He’s never been a problem in the dressing room, or anything like that.

“But he’ll feel he could’ve been fitter at the start of the season. There’s no doubt about that.

“It’s difficult to play Premier League games when you’re not on top of your fitness levels.

“But he’s got them back and he’s back in the team. He’s got his head down and he’s hungry to score goals and do well.

“It’s good to see him fit and showing what a good player he is. He’s a talented player and you want to see people like that do well for West Brom,and go on and do well if that’s the case.

“He’s hungry to do well now for us between now and the end of the season.”