23 Sep Ranieri happy with his lot
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insists he would never swap his forward line for Manchester United’s star-studded combination.
The Foxes go to Old Trafford on Saturday with Ranieri confident his strikeforce can outshine United’s.
Record £29million signing Islam Slimani scored twice on his debut in last week’s 3-0 win over Burnley while Jamie Vardy scored 24 goals in their Premier League title win last season.
Riyad Mahrez also won the PFA Player of the Year award after netting 17 times and Ranieri insisted he would always prefer his frontline to Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial.
“I love my players and I don’t change them for other players. I’m very pleased with them and we think we can do a very good season this season,” he said.
“Rooney is an amazing player. He’s a champion. I don’t know (whether Rooney would be in his team), I love my players, and I don’t change my players with anybody else.
“The three have different attributes, they are different players. The football is different, they play one shape, we play another shape.”
Ranieri also insisted he has buried the hatchet with United boss Jose Mourinho and any issues are “prehistoric”.
Mourinho, who replaced Ranieri at Chelsea in 2004, has previously criticised the Italian for his achievements – before Ranieri won the Premier League last season – and his use of English.
Ranieri has mainly remained quiet but did launch a defence in 2008 when he said he did not need trophies to be sure of himself.
But the Leicester boss said any problems are behind them ahead of their second meeting in weeks after United’s 2-1 Community Shield win last month.
“Yes, but it’s prehistoric, not now,” he said. “It (their relationship) is fantastic, very good, no problems, why?
“(The issues) were a long time ago, I’m okay. All managers have a lot of jobs to do. It’s normal, he’s a great manager and a fantastic person.”
United had lost their last three games in all competitions before beating Northampton 3-1 in the EFL Cup on Wednesday but Michael Carrick, who scored United’s first, knows they can put right any problems.
“There were little things that could have been done and sloppy things cost us. We put ourselves in a tough position,” he told the club’s official website.
“Those little things can be changed. But we had a decent second half, we finished the game off and we’re delighted to be through to the next round.”
Rooney, meanwhile, has vowed to shut out the critics and battle hard for United.
The form of the United and England captain has come under scrutiny following the team’s recent poor run of results and s ome observers have questioned whether the 30-year-old – who is just three goals short of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time United record of 249 – is still worth his place in the side.
But asked about the critics, Rooney told MUTV: ”I think I’ve had that my whole career – a little bit more of late, I think, but that’s football.
”I listen to my coaches and my team-mates, the people around me, and I don’t really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.
”I have to focus, work hard, of course, and I’ve done that throughout my career. I’ve worked hard and tried to do my best for the team.”