Claudio Ranieri tells Leicester to pen latest chapter of fairytale and seal qualification for Champions League last-16

Ross McLean
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Ranieri is close to guiding Leicester to the last-16 of the Champions League (Source: Getty)

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has urged his side to finish drafting the latest chapter of their fairytale when they do Champions League battle with Danish champions FC Copenhagen on Wednesday.

The Foxes boast a five-point lead at the summit of Group G and can seal their place in the last-16 of Europe’s premier club competition with victory in Denmark.

Should Leicester win and third-placed Porto fail to beat bottom side Club Brugge, the Midlands club can also mark their maiden Champions League campaign with progression as group winners.

“Yes, we can write another famous chapter in the Leicester story, but maybe not tomorrow night, because I respect Copenhagen a lot,” said Ranieri.

“Of course I want to get it done, but I’m not thinking about the Premier League, I’m only thinking about how we can win this match and how we are going to manage this match because we are very close to achieving something special.”

Ranieri confirmed that he is not prepared to risk club record £30m signing Islam Slimani, who is suffering with a groin injury, although he has backed England striker Jamie Vardy to end his 10-match goal drought.

“Slimani is not ready,” added the Italian. “He told me he is okay, but I don’t want to risk losing him for a long time and we can still find the right solution.

“Last year, Jamie scored in 11 games on the trot, so maybe he scores tomorrow. It’s finished.”

Leicester’s players headed to Copenhagen last year for their Christmas party, dressing as an array of cartoon characters, although midfielder Andy King insists this visit is very much business rather than pleasure.

“Once you get a little taste of success people want more and the players are no different,” said King. “We have really enjoyed the last 12 months but we want that to continue. We don’t want to rest on our laurels.”