11 Feb Ranieri on FA cup
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri hopes his squad can take confidence from the FA Cup win against Derby and build some much-needed momentum in the Premier League.
The champions have slumped to within a point of the relegation zone after just two wins in 15 league matches and face a crucial clash on Sunday at Swansea, who like Leicester have 21 points from their 24 games.
Ranieri’s side travel to the Liberty Stadium having lost their last four Premier League fixtures without scoring a goal and they have yet to find the back of the net in the league in 2017.
Wednesday’s replay win against Derby, for which Ranieri made 10 team changes, provided some relief and the Italian hopes the 3-1 victory, which came after extra-time, can give Leicester a lift.
“To score three in one match is good, good for confidence, and I hope it can improve our Premier League season and give us confidence,” he said.
“We need momentum. It is important to keep the momentum of the squad going. We might make changes, but it is still Leicester. If we lose in the FA Cup, it is always Leicester. But Leicester won so it is good.
“To win in the FA Cup gave us confidence but we have to keep going. It (Swansea) is one of our important matches from now until the end – we have to achieve our points. But I am confident with the players, always.”
Leicester will face a Swansea side rejuvenated since the arrival of Paul Clement, who has just been named the manager of the month for January.
The former Derby boss has overseen a notable upturn in form since replacing Bob Bradley at the turn of the year. The last three Premier League matches have seen Swansea defeat Liverpool at Anfield, win at home against EFL Cup finalists Southampton and lose narrowly to an injury-time goal away at Manchester City.
Ranieri has been impressed by the impact Clement has had, saying: ” They changed their manager and they play very well. It will be a tough match for us.
“When he came, they changed totally. There is a very good shape, they know what they have to do and how to do it. They have a good shape, they attack together, defend together.
“They are very good team because they move the ball quickly. There are some good players in good condition.”
Ranieri will make several changes on Sunday with t he likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, should he overcome a calf knock, all expected to be restored to the team.
Winger Demarai Gray is pushing for a starting place after impressing against Derby while recent signing Molla Wague could be involved in the squad. Like Vardy, Islam Slimani (groin) will be assessed but fellow striker Leonardo Ulloa (thigh) remains out.