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O´Neill backs Leicester for Champions League qualification

Former Leicester City manager Martin O’Neill expects his old club to invest in the January transfer market as they prepare for the “probability” of European football next season.

Leicester will sit top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day following an extraordinary first half of the campaign, which has seen the Foxes take 38 points from 17 matches.

Plenty of interest in the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez is expected when the transfer window opens next month but O’Neill, who managed the club between 1995 and 2000, does not think owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha will buckle under the pressure.

Instead, he is of the belief that the Thai will give manager Claudio Ranieri the backing to improve his squad.

“I think that the owners will be very unwilling, at this stage, to let players go. Now you’re in a position where you’re not looking over your shoulder and with the probability of European football, you’ve got to go for [new signings],” O’Neill said on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme.

“And if you can pick up one or two to give the squad the strength they need for the long push, then why not?

“[Ranieri] kept their expectation in check, rightly so, just in case they hit a blip and couldn’t pull themselves out of it. But he must now think that they can go on and maybe compete in the Champions League.

“That would be fantastic and a phenomenal achievement, considering where they were. For most of the calendar year, it really belongs to Leicester.”

Sun 20 Dec, 2015
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