Ranieri’s sacking tough to make sense of
Claudio Ranieri accomplished the unthinkable in 2016. His Leicester City team were given 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League title at the outset of the season—and then they went out and did it. It was a truly unprecedented achievement, one that would seemingly signal a bright future with the club. But yesterday the unthinkable happened again. Just nine months after winning that historic championship, Ranieri was relieved of his duties as Leicester’s coach, and the football world is left scratching its collective head.
It’s no secret that Leicester had fallen off from the elite level it was at last year. The club had dropped to 17th place in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone. Where things had gone so incredibly right last year, they were now going incredibly wrong in almost every way. For management, the team’s 2-1 loss to Sevilla on Wednesday was the final straw.
There are many reasons, from the departure of N’Golo Kanté to the lack of production from Jamie Vardy , that Leicester has collapsed. The question now is how much of the side’s struggles can be blamed on Ranieri. Regression in 2016-17 was a pretty likely outcome for a team that had outperformed expectations beyond its wildest dreams. That things got this bad under Ranieri was disappointing to be sure, but give up so quickly on the man who delivered the club’s first Premier League title is a questionable decision, to say the least.
Some suspected that Ranieri had lost the locker room and caused a player revolt, something that Leicester’s new caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare denies.
“There was a lot of frustration because of the results, but he had not lost the dressing room,” Shakespeare said. “A lot of the talk of unrest has been speculation. I’ve not had one problem with the players.”
Manchester United manager José Mourinho, who was recently sacked from Chelsea himself, voluntarily weighed in on Ranieri’s sacking in an Instagram post.
“Champion of England and Fifa manager of the year, sacked. That’s the new football. Claudio, keep smiling. Nobody can delete the history you wrote,” read the post.
Indeed, nobody can take away Ranieri’s accomplishments. Leicester has 13 matches left this season. Perhaps by the end of them, we’ll have an idea of whether Ranieri’s leadership was holding back the club, or if he was just a scapegoat.
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