Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is surprised the Football Association declined to overturn Jamie Vardy’s three-match ban but has backed the Premier League champions to pick up victories without their star striker.
Vardy was dismissed for a late challenge on Mame Biram Diouf during last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Stoke City, although replays suggested a tussle with Glen Johnson left the England international off-balance when he went into the tackle.
The FA did not view this as a mitigating factor as they rejected Leicester’s appeal against the 29-year-old’s suspension and Ranieri must use a different attacking spearhead, starting with the Boxing Day match with Everton at the King Power Stadium.
“All in England, all the world [people] watch the foul and say it’s not a foul,” the ex-Chelsea and Juventus boss said at his pre-match news conference.
“We made an appeal because we believe in something right and we are very disappointed in the result, because when we make a mistake, or when my players make a mistake, we don’t appeal. But that wasn’t a foul.
“There is a big fight between Glen Johnson and Vardy. Johnson pushes a little more, Vardy loses his body control, and when he arrives he touches the ball. He touched the ball. That’s it.
“I am, and all our club is, very surprised. I’m not angry. I’m very sad for the football.”
Ranieri is buoyed by the memory of Leicester’s triumphant march to the Premier League crown last season continuing uninterrupted when Vardy served a ban for being dismissed against West Ham.
“Last year we played Swansea without him and scored four,” Ranieri added, although he will also be without banned defensive duo Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs on this occasion.
The Italian’s recollections of Everton’s previous visit to the King Power Stadium are not as sharp, when the Merseysiders were obliging guests at Leicester’s title party.
Opera singer Andrea Bocelli serenaded the masses on the field before a buoyant City stormed to a 3-1 win
“I remember Bocelli. No more,” Ranieri added.
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