Football

Vardy: We're only guilty 
of underachieving

Leicester striker denies any involvement in getting Ranieri sacked

LEICESTER CITY LIVERPOOL

Jamie Vardy has joined Kasper Schmeichel in denying any involvement in Claudio Ranieri's sacking as Leicester boss.

Ranieri left the club on Thursday only nine months after guiding the Foxes to a remarkable Premier League triumph.

Vardy was one of the many rough diamonds Ranieri polished, with the striker's form for Leicester earning him a place in the England team.

Writing on Instagram, Vardy said: "I must have written and deleted my words to this post a stupid amount of times! I owed (it to) Claudio to find the right and appropriate words!

"Claudio has and always will have my complete respect!

"What we achieved together and as a team was the impossible! He believed in me when many didn't and, for that, I owe him my eternal gratitude.

"There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this (is) completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!

"The only thing we are guilty of as a team is underachieving which we all acknowledge both in the dressing room and publicly and will do our best to rectify.

"I wish Claudio the very very best in whatever the future holds for him. Thank you Claudio for everything."

Earlier, Schmeichel insisted reports of a meeting between the club's owners and several players that led to Ranieri's dismissal were untrue.

He told the BBC: "There's absolutely no truth in that whatsoever. We are players and we can only affect (things) on the pitch.

"What happens above our heads at boardroom level is completely out of our control."

Playmaker Riyad Mahrez and captain Wes Morgan also took to Twitter to thank Ranieri.

The Italian visited Leicester's training ground on Saturday morning to say goodbye to his former players and staff.

"I don't speak with anybody, just to say thank you to the fans. They are fantastic. Thank you," he said briefly before he drove away.

On how he was feeling, he added: "I feel good now, because what we achieved in Leicester... I hope it will happen again, but it will be very difficult."

Having lost their last five league games and yet to score in the top flight in 2017, Leicester will have to put aside Ranieri's controversial sacking and focus on tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) home game against Liverpool.

Results elsewhere over the weekend pushed the Foxes into the relegation zone in 18th spot, although they have a game in hand over their relegation rivals.

CHAMPIONS RELEGATED

If they fail to stave off the drop, they will become the first reigning English champions to be relegated since Manchester City in 1938.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp thinks the turmoil surrounding the Foxes doesn't necessarily work in his team's favour. If anything, he believes that his side will have their work cut out for them.

He said: "Does the sacking change a lot for us? Probably the players have to show a few things and they will want to.

"You saw the Champions League game and the (Leicester) reaction after they scored; it was like two different games before and after they scored.

"Obviously, they needed this goal to get their confidence back.

"Maybe they can keep this and then we have to make it not too easy for them to bring it on the pitch or to not let their confidence grow." - WIRE SERVICES

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