Leicester City 2, Club Brugge 1: Claudio Ranieri demands relegation woes be eased after Foxes reach Champions League knockout phase

 
Ross McLean
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Leicester City FC v Club Brugge KV - UEFA Champions League
Royad Mahrez netted Leicester's second from the penalty spot (Source: Getty)

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has demanded his side revive their domestic fortunes after continuing to scale new continental heights by reaching the Champions League knockout phase with victory over Club Brugge.

The Foxes are through to the last 16 as Group G winners with a game to spare after a Shinji Okazaki strike and Riyad Mahrez penalty set them on their way, only for winger Jose Izquierdo to temper celebrations until the final whistle.

Defending top-flight champions Leicester’s European majesty is in stark contrast to their Premier League form; defeat to Watford on Saturday left them just two points clear of the relegation zone.

“I am very happy because we are top of the group and it’s another fairytale for us,” said Ranieri. “It’s amazing. We’re on another journey. I don’t know where, but we’re excited. It’s the first time we play in the Champions League and we are top of the group, unbelievable.

“But also unbelievable is the Premier League table. Now I hope we change our mind and think more about the Premier League because we are very close to relegation.”

Any Leicester nerves were calmed after five minutes as full-back Christian Fuchs whipped a low cross into the Brugge penalty area and Okazaki thundered home a left-footed half-volley.

The Foxes took a huge step towards the last 16 shortly before the half hour mark as Mahrez dispatched a spot-kick after Marc Albrighton was felled by full-back Dion Cools.

Leicester hearts were made to beat a little faster seven minutes after the restart as Izquierdo initiated a solo run which culminated in him lashing high past Ron-Robert Zieler.