Football

Record defeat my fault but fringe players missed chance – Ranieri

Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri accepted the blame for Wednesday’s 5-0 defeat by Porto in the Champions League but felt some of his fringe players missed an opportunity to impress him.

With the Foxes already through to the last 16, Ranieri made 10 changes.

Those he selected struggled to compete with Porto as Leicester suffered the heaviest defeat by an English side in Champions League history.

“I decided to change the team – the result is my fault,” said Ranieri.

“My players lost a very great chance to show me their best.

“I have no regrets because I wanted to give an opportunity to all my players.”

Leicester had sealed first place in Group G with a game to spare after winning four and drawing one of their previous five games.

It gave Ranieri the luxury of being able to give first-team regulars like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez a rest, especially ahead of a tough game against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Foxes are two points above the relegation zone and Ranieri said facing Pep Guardiola’s side was on his mind when he chose his team to face Porto.

“If I needed to win or draw, I would bring all my first team to fight,” he added.

“But when you know there is another difficult match Saturday against Manchester City and you are top of the group, why not give a chance to players who say ‘why don’t I play? We are losing in the Premier League, give me a chance’.

“For this reason, I give a chance to them. That’s it. Then, the result is my fault but they missed a great chance.”

Leicester will find out who they will face in the Champions League last 16 on Monday.

Who could Leicester face in the last 16? One of:
Paris St-Germain
Benfica
Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen
Real Madrid
Sevilla

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