REUTERS – Season’s surprise package Leicester City are seeking further impetus from a face-off with a highly-competitive side as they host fellow title contenders Manchester City in a potential cracker of a Premier League contest on Tuesday.
Claudio Ranieri’s team are second in the table, a point behind Arsenal, with a game in hand after slipping to their second defeat of the season, a 1-0 Boxing Day loss against Liverpool.
Despite the latest reversal, Italian Ranieri is confident his players will be pumped up against City, who could climb up to second place on goal difference with a win at the King Power Stadium.
“The motivation is high because you’re playing one of the teams that can win the league like Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea,” Ranieri told the club’s website (www.lcfc.com).
“We have to put in a very good performance to win that. They have so much talent but it’s important that we recover our energy and show our football.”
Leicester have lost their last three games in all competitions against City, conceding six goals in the process.
To turn around that worrying run, Ranieri will again rely on the mercurial strike duo of Jamie Vardy Riyad Mahrez, who together have netted 28 goals this season.
Ranieri noted that home advantage too would play a crucial hand in the tie against City, who along with Leicester have scored a season-high 37 goals this season.
Leicester will be without Jeffrey Schlupp for the high-profile clash while Danny Drinkwater remains a doubt due to hamstring injury.
Ranieri also revealed it was illness that led to Vardy to be withdrawn in the second half against Liverpool.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)