Peter Schmeichel dismisses Claudio Ranieri role in Leicester’s Premier League title win

ranieri sacked

Claudio Ranieri sacked.

Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by a Premier League club for the fourth time, after Watford parted company with the Italian on Monday.

Ranieiri has also been sacked by Chelsea, Leicester and Fulham and Peter Schmeichel has previously dismissed the role the manager played in the Foxes’ remarkable Premier League title win in 2015/16.

The Italian manager was at the helm as the Foxes stunned the football world, by being crowned English champions for the first time, despite bookmakers pricing them at 5,000/1 to do so at the beginning of the season.

Peter Schmeichel’s Leicester link.

In the previous campaign, Leicester’s first year back in the top flight after a 10-year absence, the club narrowly avoided relegation, before Nigel Pearson was replaced by Ranieri in the summer of 2015.

Ranieri will always be remembered as the man who was in the dugout throughout Leicester’s miracle season, but according to Schmeichel, the Foxes would have been challenging near the top of the table without him.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper had (and still has) a direct link to the Leicester dressing room given that his son Kasper keeps goal for the club, and Schmeichel Sr. feels that it was the players who should take all the credit for the title win, and not Ranieri.

“Ranieri didn’t want to play to their strengths.”

“All over the pitch, they had winners who could change the course of a game,” Schmeichel writes in his autobiography, released towards the end of 2021.

“They got to the point where they could even win the league with Claudio Ranieri in charge. My intention is not to be cruel to Claudio but 2015/16 was a players’ triumph, not one of management.

“Initially, Ranieri was against the way Leicester played; that game of long, fast counter-attacks based around Jamie Vardy’s strengths. Nor did he fancy N’Golo Kante.

“He inherited a battle-hardened team, one with competitive knowledge built on the experiences of two play-off defeats, a dominant Championship season, then the ‘Great Escape’ of 2014/15.

“During that season, though they fought relegation, they were close in every single game; nobody beat them lightly.

“I would watch Kasper and see a team that was going to start winning. I thought ‘the only thing holding you back is that you don’t know how good you are.'”

“Nigel Pearson would have won the league too.”

One man who Schmeichel does believe deserves credit is Pearson, the coach who the Danish stopper feels built the foundations for Premier League glory.

“Nigel Pearson created an environment in which the bond between players was unbreakable and their idea of how they should play was 100% clear. On the pitch, the players took control.

“They played the way they felt. They took control of the tactics.

“I feel sorry for Nigel because he left the club before he could finish the job. I am convinced, had he stayed, he would have won the league too.

“Dilly Dong? I never bought into that stuff,” Schmeichel concludes, in reference to the catchphrase Ranieri often used to charm the press that season.

Claudio Ranieri sacked by Watford.

Six years after his crowning moment, Ranieri is now been sacked by Watford, again following in the footsteps of Pearson, who managed the Hornets during the second half of the 2019/20 season.

Pearson ended up watching Watford’s most recent relegation from afar, after he was sacked with just two games to go, in keeping with the Hertfordshire outfit’s trigger-happy reputation.

This article was originally published on January 14th 2021.

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