Ranieri Hails Unbelievable Achievement
- The Foxes beat Club Brugge 2-1 at Leicester City Stadium to win the group with a game to spare
- Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez open the scoring for Leicester City in the first half before Jose Izquierdo pulled one back for Brugge
- Ranieri declares his pride at his team’s achievement in reaching the knockout stages
Claudio Ranieri declared himself a proud man after watching his Leicester City beat Club Brugge to reach the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League as Group G winners – with a game to spare.
First half goals from Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez gave City a perfect start and despite Jose Izquierdo pulling a goal back for Club Brugge in the second half, the Foxes were good value for their 2-1 victory.
That, combined with a 0-0 draw between FC Copenhagen and Porto, guaranteed top spot and a place in the knockout stages and the assurance of a home draw in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
Afterwards, Ranieri was thrilled to reflect on a night that will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest nights in Leicester City history.
“It is unbelievable, to be top of the group,” said Ranieri. “I am very happy and very proud. I am happy for my players, for my chairman, for the fans – for everybody.
“We have another journey now through the knock-out. Unbelievable. It is very important to be top of the group but our minds must now go on the Premier League because I want to push my players to think about the Premier League.
“Now our job is done. We won the group. I don’t know which team we will play but it will be a fantastic team.
“But now we have to go back. In the Premier League we are very close to the relegation and we must play at the same level as the Champions League because when we want to do something we achieve something.
“We must concentrate on the Premier League now.”
City were well in control for much of the match but after Izquierdo fired in a stunner in the second half, the Foxes were made to work for their three points, but in the end they had more than enough to see out the win.
Ranieri said: “It's very strange, we were playing so well. I think we had 70 per cent possession and created a lot of chances.
“We concede a goal on counter attack, why? An Italian manager conceding a goal on the counter attack? I get crazy but that is football.
“From that point we lost our composure afterwards, why? Stay calm. We lost another couple of chances. We created again two or three chances for us, but it finished well. Now it's OK.
“Of course they are lacking confidence because in the Premier League when something happens they score a goal. And tonight their first chance they score. It was their first shot on goal. Unbelievable. We have to change this mood.”
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