Leicester v Copenhagen: Ranieri sets priorities

Leicester City have been in atrocious form in the Premier League but in splendid form in the Champions League in what is nothing if not ironic.

The Premier League champions have begun the season poorly at home, as they lie 13th on the table after eight games following the 3-0 defeat suffered at Chelsea last weekend.

It is a different story entirely on the continent, however, as despite being new to the Champions League, they have acquitted themselves very well so far, dispatching both Club Brugge and the more experienced FC Porto in their first two games. It is even more pertinent to note that they defeated Brugge 3-0 in Belgium.

The curious case however is how they haven’t used that as a catalyst to a decent start, at the very least, in the Premier League.

Manager Claudio Ranieri provides an answer when he said they have placed more priority in the Champions League than in the Premier League because they have longer to improve their form in the latter.

“In the Premier League we must be safe at the end of the year. The Champions League is now,” said Ranieri.

“At this moment, it’s a priority.”

And when you look at it clearly, the pattern emerges. Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani are set to return to the starting line-up for the first of back-to-back games against FC Copenhagen as both players were substitutes for Saturday’s game against Chelsea, coming on 67 minutes into the 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

And Ranieri believes the matches against FC Copenhagen are ‘very important’ and ‘will tell us what we can do in the Champions League’.

“We’re a good team and have to show our qualities.”

Copenhagen on the other hand, top the Danish SuperLiga by six points, they’re second in Champions League Group G behind Leicester with four points, and come into this game on the back of a 2-0 win over Silkeborg in their domestic league. Their confidence couldn’t be higher.

And considering that this fixture will be a back-to-back tie, it is increasingly looking like it will determine who ends up on top of Group G at the end of the group phase.