LONDON (Reuters) – Leicester City playmaker Riyad Mahrez, who has missed his last two penalties, is unlikely to take his side’s next spot-kick, manager Claudio Ranieri said.
Mahrez, outstanding in Leicester’s unlikely rise to the Premier League summit, has missed consecutive penalties against Bournemouth and Aston Villa.
Leicester led bottom side Villa 1-0 on Saturday but Algerian international Mahrez, with 13 league goals this season, wasted the opportunity to double the lead when his tame penalty was saved. Villa then battled back for a 1-1 draw.
“Riyad was a little sad (after missing). I spoke with him and I said ‘come on man, even champions miss penalties.’ I said ‘don’t worry, take a little break and you’ll have a chance to take them again’.” Ranieri told reporters on Monday.
“I will speak with my players about who takes them. Last season Leo Ulloa took them. I will see.”
Leicester, second in the league behind Arsenal on goal difference, host Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup third round replay on Tuesday.
The two are meeting for the third time in 10 days after drawing the original tie 2-2 at White Hart Lane on Jan. 10 before Leicester returned to north London three days later and won 1-0 there in the Premier League.
(Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Justin Palmer)