Ranieri wants ‘reaction’ from recalled Mahrez

Date published: Thursday 29th December 2016 4:14

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has called Saturday’s clash with West Ham one his side “have to win” as he prepares to recall Riyad Mahrez.

The Foxes are just three points above the Premier League relegation zone after only one victory in nine games as they prepare to host the Hammers on Saturday.

Last season’s shock champions lost 2-0 at home to Everton on Boxing Day, their ninth defeat in 18 league matches, having lost just three times on the way to the title in May.

They face fellow strugglers Middlesbrough on Monday and Ranieri emphasized the Foxes need to beat West Ham.

“Yes, we have to turn to 20 points, we (have) 17. We have to win, we have to win, we have to win,” he said.

“We are not happy, nobody is happy – the chairman, me, the sporting director, staff, players. We have to react as soon as possible. We have to show all these good things on the pitch.

“The match against Everton was very even and they scored twice. It’s unbelievable but that’s football, we have to react, concentrate 100 per cent and fight. When we concentrate we can show a very fantastic performance.”

Ranieri also confirmed Mahrez will start after he came on as a second-half substitute against Everton; he was our early loser this week.

After the defeat, he said last season’s PFA Player of the Year needed to improve but has now suggested he was just rested following his efforts in the 2-2 draw at Stoke, where the Foxes played over an hour with 10 men following Jamie Vardy’s red card.

“I hope he has reacted well,” added Ranieri. “I watched him during training last week and he was (a) little tired. At 10 v 11 at Stoke he worked hard so I decided to give him rest. He will play the next match and I want to see a reaction – I wait to see a reaction.”

Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs are also available after one-match bans but Vardy continues to serve a three-match suspension.

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