Claudio Ranieri was appointed on the 13th July in replacement of Nigel Pearson as Leicester City head coach, in which many casted their doubts over whether the Italian was the right man for the job considering his catastrophic spell while in charge of Greece.
Labelled ‘The Tinkerman’ for his innate desire to rotate his squad to an extreme extent, Ranieri stated in August that colleagues of his have adopted similar stances, “The Tinkerman was one [man], now there are a lot of Tinkermen!”
A revolutionist? Perhaps not, but Ranieri is known for defying the odds of management, not always necessarily for the greatest of reasons.
When he took over from Fernando Santos at the helm of the Greece National team, there were high expectations for Claudio Ranieri – in which would see Greece qualify for the 2016 European Championships in France.
For some reason or another, things didn’t go accordingly and Greece in fact ended up bottom of Group F, which saw them also lose to the Faroe Islands. Twice.
Humiliating? That’s one word to describe the Italian’s treacherous tenure while in charge of Greece, but instead of sulking when out of work, Ranieri looked for his next challenge – which appeared in the form of Leicester City.
Ranieri quickly divided opinion when being appointed last July as the Foxes’s manager. “He’s the anti-Pearson,” stated Marcus Christenson of the Guardian. “Claudio Ranieri? Really?” tweeted life-long Leicester City fan, Gary Lineker. It’s evident that the appointment didn’t go down too well, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and there would be different words said now.
Five months into Claudio Ranieri’s stint and how’s he getting on? Currently sitting 3rd in the Premier League – yes, really – and playing possibly the most attractive football in the League. What Ranieri’s doing so well, that his successor in 2004 at Chelsea isn’t, is that the Italian is getting the utmost best out his players. Those being Jamie Vardy, who’s scored nine goals in his last nine games and on course to break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 10 in 10 , Riyad Mahrez, the wonder-kid from Algeria, who has taken the Premier League by storm providing five assists and scoring eight times in 11 appearances.
The point has been put across that Claudio Ranieri has been fortunate with landing the Leicester City job. And in fact, his positive results are nothing more than Nigel Pearson’s hard work in surviving the drop the previous year. One manager in particular, Tony Pulis of West Bromwich Albion, suggested that people should not be deceived by the Italian’s results because he’s only picking up the pieces from Nigel Pearson.
When Pearson commented on the matter last week in the Sunday Times, he was reluctant to agree with the Albion manager. “I know I left the club in a very sound situation but it us up to the new manager to take that on and the signs are good.”
Precisely, the signs are good and Leicester City fans will be more than ecstatic with how Ranieri has his team playing under him. One negative – as we must always try to find one – is Leicester’s seeping defence that is leaking a large amount of goals.
Like Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson in his final season in charge, between the months of August and December, the goals flying past David De Gea and Andreas Lindegaard were astronomical. Luckily, the Scottish manager quickly fixed the problem and went on to win the Premier League, but it could have been their downfall if they weren’t alert to it. Ranieri will be hoping to emulate similar results.
No one is expecting the Foxes’ to amount a sustained title charge, not by any means, but is a top six finish really out of the question? Well, it shouldn’t be. With the flailing Chelsea, the European race is blown wide open with Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in contention to claim fourth and fifth. That leaves a Europa League sixth place open. Yes, Chelsea aren’t going to be this diabolical all season, and there have been signs of them playing in a more coherent manner, but, providing Leicester can keep the wind in their sails, they should be more than hopeful of finishing inside the top six.
Ranieri has deployed some excellent attacking football – and if they can steady their defence –everyone down at the King Power Stadium should be watching this season not only with anticipation, but also pure glee of the delightful show the Foxes’s are putting on. Jamie Vardy could make history in the coming weeks, but Leicester City could well perform the biggest turnaround football has ever seen – from moments away of being relegated to finishing in the top six and playing Europa League football. It would be sensational.
About the author – Liam Canning
Liam is a free-lance journalist who has featured on The Mirror, Telegraph, London Evening Standard, Independent, Squawka and FoutFourTwo.
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