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Claudio Ranieri denies player power forced him out of Leicester – but hints at trouble behind the scenes before leading the Foxes to the title

Claudio Ranieri alluded to someone behind the scenes being involved in his dismissal at Leicester – less than a year after winning the Premier League
He rejected claims his players could have been the ones forcing him out
Ranieri was reflecting on Leicester during a Monday Night Football appearance

Claudio Ranieri has broken his silence on his Leicester sacking —saying he does not believe his players ‘killed him’ but ‘maybe somebody behind me’ was responsible.
The Italian, appearing on Sky’s Monday Night Football alongside Sportsmail’s Jamie Carragher, rejected the allegation that he had been betrayed by the team who won the title.
Ranieri dismissed claims that the players deliberately played with less effort in order to get rid of him. He suggested that their intensity dipped because they felt satisfied by winning the Premier League and gaining lucrative new deals.

I can’t believe the players didn’t give the maximum, because there are other problems,’ he said. ‘The year before, they earn a little less and after, they earn double or triple.
‘Also, when you are saved from relegation in the last match and then restart the next season, you are so concentrated on being solid and strong.
‘We started very well last season. But when you come back in pre-season after winning the title, you go around the world to America, you play against big teams for the first time in your life, the situation is totally different. I can’t believe my players killed me. No, no, no.
‘I listen to a lot of stories about this —maybe it could be somebody behind me.

But also I had this little problem the year before! And we won the title.
‘Maybe these people, this year, when we lose, push a little more. But that’s it.’
Ranieri refused to name names, saying: ‘I don’t want to tell this. I’m a serious man, a loyal man, what I had to say I said face to face.’
It was alleged that Ranieri had grown distant from Craig Shakespeare, who is now in charge, and former Leicester coach Kevin Phillips recently told Sportsmail that early on in the title-winning season the 65-year-old would alter Shakespeare’s training sessions at short notice.
In his first press conference as boss, Shakespeare stated firmly that he had no problems with Ranieri and had spoken to his predecessor by phone.

Ranieri revealed that he’d had doubts during his final days at the helm about whether sticking with Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy was the correct course.
‘I believe these players were the heart of the team. I said to them, “We made a fairytale, we can continue”. I felt this team could do something good also in the Champions League.
Before I was sacked I think, “Oh, my big mistake was believing in my players. Why don’t they react?” But after I was sacked I said, “No, I was right. My decision at the beginning to maintain with these players was right”.
‘Motivation was very hard. Sometimes I change the system, sometimes I put players on the bench. We didn’t start with same concentration.’
He added that the team’s upturn since his departure is pleasing. ‘I am very happy to see my players play in the system and in everything I teach them. They play the same.
‘I think also if the players remain next season, they play the same. Shakespeare was very intelligent to follow that way.’

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