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Ranieri knows Leicester are wanted men in Champions League

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes his side are the pot-one team their European counterparts will want to face in this season’s Champions League.

Ranieri’s men are among the top seeds for their debut season in Europe’s leading club competition on the back of their sensational Premier League triumph last season.

That ranks them alongside the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and defending champions Real Madrid, and the former Chelsea and Juventus boss believes most of the teams from pots two, three and four would welcome being drawn to face Leicester at Thursday’s draw in Monaco.

“I will go home and watch it alone. I’m very curious to know the names of the teams [Leicester will face],” Ranieri told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s home game against Swansea City.

“We are new. All the other teams will want Leicester.

“Eight to 10 points could be good [enough to qualify from the group].

“I had a very good experience in the Champions League. I can give my knowledge to [the players] now it’s important they play how they used to play.”

Ranieri expects midfielder Nampalys Mendy and full-back Jeffrey Schlupp to return from injury after the forthcoming international break, with the duo sidelined for the Swansea’s visit.

Mendy’s suffered an ankle injury that halted an assured Premier League debut in last weekend’s goalless draw against Arsenal and preceded transfer speculation linking Leicester to Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi.

However, Ranieri refused to be drawn.

“I confirm the speculation,” he said. “I only speak about my players.”

One midfielder who is certain to remain part of the plans at the King Power Stadium is Danny Drinkwater, who secured a new five-year deal earlier on Wednesday.

“I think last season was the first season he played all the matches,” Ranieri added on the England international. “I think now he’s getting better.”

Thu 25 Aug, 2016
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