Friday, June 22, 2018

Okazaki shows strength of Leicester options, says Ranieri

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 Sep 2016


Claudio Ranieri felt the performance of Shinji Okazaki on Tuesday highlighted the number of options at his disposal among his Leicester City squad.

Okazaki was one of seven changes for Leicester in their EFL Cup tie against Chelsea, and the Japan international rewarded his manager with a pair of goals to put the Foxes 2-0 up at the King Power Stadium.

However, Chelsea hit back through Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta and, after Marcin Wasilewski was sent off, the visitors prevailed 4-2 in extra time with a brace of Cesc Fabregas strikes.

Last season, Leicester’s stunning Premier League title win was based on the foundation of a settled starting XI, but Ranieri believes the likes of Okazaki and Leonardo Ulloa can challenge the established first team.

“Shinji was very determined. It is good because between Shinji and Ulloa they want to fight to have a chance,” the Italian said.

“For us that is good. And also I watched Jeffrey Schlupp come back after his injury, Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray and Ahmed Musa must understand much better the Premier League, but it is okay.

“For me it is important to develop all the squad and not just the 14 players. We have a chance to go through to the next round but it wasn’t possible – it is okay.

“Of course now we have to work more and more to give them 90 minutes because when I need them they must be fit 100 percent.”


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