Leicester - Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri looked
forward to "another fairytale" after the 5,000-1 Premier League
champions booked their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League.
Leicester are toiling in the Premier League, sitting two
points above the relegation zone, but Tuesday's 2-1 win over Club Brugge took
them into the Champions League last 16 with a game to spare.
Asked which of Europe's glamour clubs he would like to face
in the next round, a smiling Ranieri replied: "I don't know. It's not
important, believe me.
"I hope to be there in good condition. That's
important. The name is not important. It will be another fairytale. Win, lose,
it's not important. It's important to go there."
Leicester's win had the added bonus of guaranteeing them top
spot in Group G, meaning they will be paired with one of the second-place teams
in next month's draw.
A team like Real Madrid or Bayern Munich could provide the
opposition in Leicester's next home game in the competition and captain Wes
Morgan is relishing the prospect.
"It is a fantastic feeling to reach the last 16. It is
more than we could ever imagine," the Jamaica centre-back told BT Sport.
"For Leicester to be newcomers and finish group winners,
it is an amazing achievement. A great result and a great performance."
At the final whistle, Leicester's jubilant supporters
launched into a rendition of the chant: "We're all going on a European
Also read: Ranieri heartened by Leicester 'spirit'
But while the fans' thoughts are already turning to
springtime sojourns on the continent, Ranieri wants his players to plough all
their energies into arresting their domestic slump.
"Our minds must go on the Premier League because I want
to push my players to think about the Premier League," said the Italian.
"Now our job is done. We're through the group. I don't
know which team we play. It will be a fantastic team. We're very happy.
"But now we have to go back. We're very close to
relegation and we must play at the same level as the Champions League.
"When we want to do something, we achieve something. We
must concentrate on the Premier League now."
- 'Disaster' -
Shinji Okazaki's hooked finish in the fifth minute and Riyad
Mahrez's 30th-minute penalty, won by Marc Albrighton, looked to have set
Leicester up for a routine victory at the King Power Stadium.
But Jose Izquierdo reduced the arrears with a breakaway goal
early in the second half and there were some anxious moments for the hosts
before their passage was confirmed.
"We concede a goal on the counter-attack. Why?"
Ranieri asked in his post-match press conference.
"An Italian manager concedes a goal on a
counter-attack, I get crazy."
Leicester have already lost six games in the Premier League
-- twice as many times as last season -- and Ranieri conceded Brugge's goal had
stirred unwelcome recent memories.
"Of course (they are) lacking confidence because in the
Premier League when something happens, (the opposition) score a goal," he
"And tonight, the first chance (Brugge's goal), was the
first shot on goal. It's unbelievable. We have to change this mood."
Having lost all five of their Group G games to date, Belgian
champions Brugge can no longer claim even the consolation prize of a berth in
the Europa League.
When it was put to beaten coach Michel Preud'homme that his
side had produced a much-improved showing in the second half, he replied:
"Yeah, but there was the first half. That's the problem.
"In football at this level, you have to play 90
minutes. The first half was a disaster and the second half was our best
He also gave short shrift to a suggestion his team had shown
Leicester too much respect.
"Yes, of course," the former Belgium goalkeeper
said in a voice thick with sarcasm.
"It's my big problem in the Champions League. I'm
afraid and I play defensively."For
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