Leicester City sack title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri

The club called the decision to 'part ways' with the Italian 'painful' but 'necessary'

Samuel Lovett
Thursday 23 February 2017 20:53
Ranieri has been sacked, despite leading Leicester to the title last season
Ranieri has been sacked, despite leading Leicester to the title last season

Leicester City have sacked their manager Claudio Ranieri nine months after securing a remarkable and historic Premier League title under the Italian's management.

With just five league wins to their name this season, the English champions currently sit one point above the relegation zone with their title defence in tatters.

The decision to sack Ranieri follows Leicester's 2-1 defeat by Sevilla on Wednesday night and comes in spite of the recent declaration that the Italian had the "unwavering support" of the club's Thai owners.

After reports of his dismissal on Thursday night, Leicester confirmed that they had "parted company" with the 65-year-old, calling the decision "painful" but "necessary".

A statement released on the club website read: "Claudio, appointed City manager in July 2015, led the Foxes to the greatest triumph in the Club’s 133-year history last season, as we were crowned champions of England for the first time. His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question.

"However, domestic results in the current campaign have placed the Club’s Premier League status under threat and the Board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the Club’s greatest interest.

"Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: 'This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City. But we are duty-bound to put the Club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment, no matter how strong that might be.

The Italian watches on from the sidelines during his team's narrow defeat on Wednesday

"'Claudio has brought outstanding qualities to his office. His skilful management, powers of motivation and measured approach have been reflective of the rich experience we always knew he would bring to Leicester City. His warmth, charm and charisma have helped transform perceptions of the Club and develop its profile on a global scale. We will forever be grateful to him for what he has helped us to achieve.'"

Leicester have struggled to deliver under Ranieri this season following their remarkable title-winning campaign last term.

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Leicester's decline in numbers...

32 - the Foxes are 32 points worse off than at this stage last season, with 21 as opposed to 53.

14 - they have lost 14 games, compared to only two last season. They also have only five wins as opposed to 15.

24 - their goal tally tells a similar tale of woe, having scored 24 this season against 47 through the same number of games last term.

0 - away wins this season. They have taken three points from 13 away games - only Burnley, with one from 11, have a worse record on the road.

0 - also the number of Premier League goals they have scored in 2017, in six games which have brought them only one point.

11 - in all, Leicester have drawn a blank in 11 games this season - it happened just three times in the whole of last season.

343 - minutes the Foxes have spent in the lead in matches this season, compared to 863 at this stage last season.

The Foxes are yet to score a goal in the Premier League in 2017 and have picked up just one point from a possible 18.

After defeat by Swansea in a crunch clash earlier this month, the side were then ignominiously dumped out of the FA Cup by League One side Millwall.

The East Midlands side subsequently turned to the Champions League and their last-16 clash with Sevilla, but their poor run of form continued as they succumbed to a 2-1 loss.

Despite their dismal domestic form, Leicester had initially declared their support for the manager following reports of changing room unrest and player dissatisfaction with the Italian's methods.

In a statement released earlier this month, the club said: "Leicester City would like to make absolutely clear its unwavering support for Claudio Ranieri.

Leicester have struggled to recreate last season's form

"While there is a collective appreciation from everyone at the Club that recent form needs to improve, the unprecedented success achieved in recent seasons has been based firmly on stability, togetherness and determination to overcome even the greatest of challenges.

"The entire club is and will remain united behind its manager and behind its players, collectively and firmly focused on the challenges ahead."

In the build-up to Wednesday's Champions League defeat, Ranieri reaffirmed his commitment to the club, suggesting that he could have left Leicester in the summer but decided to stay put.

Vardy were beaten 2-1 at Sevilla on Wednesday night

He said: "I could leave last season, I won the title and I had something with other teams but I wanted to stay here because I knew it was a difficult year.

"I came here to build, to build something good for Leicester, for everybody. I keep going, I maintain my mind in this way. I forget the title and I want to achieve something good for the fans, chairman and the city."

Ranieri's dismissal comes just 292 days after he lifted the Premier League trophy at the King Power Stadium in May following victory over Everton.

The club have confirmed assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and first team coach Mike Stowell will take preparations after Ranieri's coaching staff were also sacked.

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