Claudio Ranieri: Copenhagen clashes are key for Leicester in Champions League

Stale Solbakken's FC Copenhagen take on Leicester City in the Champions League on Tuesday

Stale Solbakken's FC Copenhagen take on Leicester City in the Champions League on Tuesday

The Premier League champions have only collected eight points from as many matches in defence of their title and were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday - their fourth consecutive top-flight away loss. Part of that is because they would have to focus on the Champions League, which they've been doing, and so far it's paid off.

It has been implied that the Foxes players have been saving themselves for the European fixtures, but Ranieri insists that is not the case.

"The most important thing was to be solid because Copenhagen is hard to play against - all the players are strong and physical", Mahrez said.

After two Champions League matches, Leicester haven't conceded any goals, though the 'keeper admitted that he prefers to get victories: "Clean sheets are nice, it's good to have them, but I rather prefer to win 3-2 than draw 0-0".

"My players made the world insane with what happened last season", he said.

"I want them to show their strength and their love for football, for the team, for Leicester".

Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani are both expected to return to the starting XI for the game, after only playing 23 minutes of the league defeat to Chelsea on the weekend. Players were sold against his wishes, the team was not clicking and eventually he was sacked in January 2013 as the Midlands side went on to be relegated to League One.

FC Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken insists he has nothing prove in England after his Wolves flop.

He said: "In this moment, Champions League is the priority".

His calculated ploy must produce for the Foxes with Slimani having scored two goals in his first three Premier League starts since a £30million move from Sporting Lisbon on deadline day. He has helped me a lot in Copenhagen. "When a team is in Europe for the first time, when they play in your league they are a little up and down".

Leicester enter the fray this week on the back of another disappointing league defeat, this time at the hands of Chelsea, with their title defence looking to be over before it really vene began. Before I got the chance to turn it around I was sacked. You get sacked after six or seven months in the Championship.

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