Football

Ranieri: We deserved more

Leicester boss feels result is harsh on Foxes, but is confident they will improve

English Premier League champions Leicester City crashed to earth with a bump as Marc Pugh's 34th-minute goal earned Bournemouth a 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Leicester overwhelmed Pep Guardiola's Manchester City 4-2 last Saturday in a thrilling return to the form that carried them to last season's fairy-tale title triumph.

But Pugh marked his first start of the season with the game's only goal to lift Bournemouth up to eighth place and keep Claudio Ranieri's side four points above the drop zone in 14th place.

It was not how Ranieri would have wanted to mark his 200th EPL game as a manager.

The Italian has not seen his side win back-to-back league games since April and they have not won away from the King Power Stadium since the start of the campaign.

From contemplating the prospect of a Champions League last-16 encounter against Sevilla, with whom they were paired in Monday's draw, Leicester find themselves facing up to a relegation scrap.

The defending champions, however, created several chances during yesterday morning's match and Ranieri asserted that they were unlucky to come away empty-handed.

"The result is too harsh for us because we deserved more," he said.

"In the first half, in our best moment, we had a chance to score with a corner. Then, they scored a goal.

"In the second half, we created more chances than them, but we didn't score. Then, Bournemouth won.

"Well done to Bournemouth, but tonight we deserved a draw.

"It's okay, the performance was good for us.

AWAY WOES FOR THE FOXES

"Of course, it wasn't possible to make the same performance as Man City, but it was good.

"The desire was good and the concentration was good, just the goal (was missing)."

The Foxes have won just one point from their eight league clashes away from the east midlands, but the Italian boss insists his side's form on the road can improve quickly.

"Sometimes we have to be more aggressive and press a little higher to get back in the match," he said.

"I know in our eight matches away, we have got only one point, but we can improve. I'm sure in the next eight matches, we will do something more."

Ranieri also revealed that Danny Drinkwater and Kasper Schmeichel could return from injury for the match against Stoke City on Saturday.

"Drinkwater received a kick on his knee in Porto and I hope he is ready for Saturday. Schmeichel trained very well in the last week, so he should be available for Saturday's game," he said.

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe believes Bournemouth can still top their highest-ever Premier League position of eighth, but has refused to target European qualification.

"I'm not going to say Europe, I'm going to say I want to make the team better; I want to make the team stronger," said Howe.

"And, in many aspects, I believe that's possible. So what that leads to, who knows.

"But when you consider where the club were a few years ago, you wouldn't have thought this was possible.

"But it's not my job to sit back and look at that achievement in any kind of way, because there's another dream to chase now." - WIRE SERVICES

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