Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Foxes must improve: Schmeichel


Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, right, scores past Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, left, in their Premier League match at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

RChampions Leicester City will be relegated from the English Premier League if they do not improve quickly, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said after their 3-0 home defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.

Last season the Foxes won the title on the back of a near-unbreachable defense and razor-sharp attack as they were carried to the most improbable success on a wave of positive emotion.

However, this season the defense looks vulnerable under the slightest pressure, they have yet to score a league goal this calendar year and anxiety is rising as relegation looks increasingly possible.

“We have to improve right now,” a dejected-looking Schmeichel told Sky Sports. “It is time for each one of us, from the top to the bottom of this club, to be counted. If we don’t we will be relegated.”

The champions have won only twice in 15 league games and a run of four successive defeats has left them just one point and two places above the relegation zone.

Their 21 points from 24 league games represents the lowest-ever return for the defending English champions at this stage of a season.

“It’s not good enough and sums our season up at the moment,” Schmeichel said, referring to their performances. “It [last season] has gone as you can clearly see. We need to stand up and be counted. It has been terrible, it has been embarrassing.”

Earlier this week, Leicester’s unsettled Argentine forward Leonardo Ulloa accused manager Claudio Ranieri of betraying him and said he would never play for the club again amid reports that the Italian had lost the backing of the dressing room.

Ulloa, who failed to force a move away from Leicester in last month’s transfer window, has since said he would remain “professional.”

“I am not commenting on newspaper speculation,” Schmeichel said. “I know what is going on in the dressing room, we are a group of players low on confidence, but certainly not low on fight. It is not a comfortable situation.”

United manager Jose Mourinho said last season would count for nothing in Leicester’s relegation battle, but he expects Ranieri to keep Leicester up.

“He is the FIFA Coach of the Year,” the Portuguese said. “That is deserved. His work will be in the history of football for many years. People will remember him and Leicester, and that deserves respect.”

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