Claudio Ranieri has told his Leicester City players that showing “gladiator” spirit is more important than avoiding defeat following a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.
Leicester were forced to rely on a late Jamie Vardy penalty to secure a point on the road after Callum Wilson – the scorer of a hat-trick last week – gave Bournemouth a first-half lead.
Wilson buried a fine overhead kick after 24 minutes to break the deadlock, with Leicester struggling to contain the hosts.
But a marked improvement after the break was eventually rewarded four minutes from time and Ranieri was left thoroughly impressed by his team’s display of character.
“I said from the beginning when I met them [the players] that the result is not important, it’s important how you play, your character,” the Italian said.
“I want my players to show fighting spirit – like gladiators. You can lose, but you have to fight in every moment.
“I said it is not important if Bournemouth score a second or third, it’s not important. What’s important is how you leave the pitch at the end and they showed very good performance and great character.”
Ranieri was also impressed with his opponents and their manager in particular, comparing the promoted side to an orchestra and revealing how he congratulated Eddie Howe before the match.
“It’s fantastic [what the club has done],” he added. “The manager is doing very well in his job – I told him ‘well done’ before the match, because they play like an orchestra.
“They are all very well organised. It was difficult because Bournemouth close very well when we try to counter. They were tactful and very intelligent.”
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