Ranieri set to unleash ‘Dragon Slayer’ Slimani against Porto

Islam Slimani

Leicester will unleash the ‘Dragon Slayer’ on FC Porto according to Claudio Ranieri, as they look to set to continue their winning start in the Champions League.

Islam Slimani
Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri set to unleash striker Islam Slimani on Porto in their Champions League clash

The striker picked up the nickname at former club Sporting Lisbon having recorded six goals in eight games overall for Sporting against [Porto] Dragons earning him the nickname the ‘Dragon Slayer’.

Slimani scored twice on his Premier League debut for Leicester, a 3-0 win over Burnley, and while Ranieri was unaware of his nickname he knows the Algeria international has put Porto to the sword before.

“Yes, I spoke with him about Porto,” confirmed Ranieri. “He came to me and I went to him.

He said: “He’s a goalscorer and has scored a lot of goals against Porto and I’m sure he’ll be a threat to them. Slimani scores so many times against Porto I am thinking if he’s going to play or not!

“We have a lot of respect for Porto, they are a lot more experienced team in Europe. They have played so many matches in the Champions League and are used to staying at the top of their league and have won six titles in the last 10 years.

“We respect them a lot but we will also try to win. Of course Slimani has scored so many times against Porto. I’m sure he’ll be a threat to them.”

Leicester won their debut Champions League game 3-0 at Club Brugge two weeks ago, as Porto drew 1-1 with FC Copenhagen.

Ranieri knows victory over Porto will also depend on plugging the defensive gaps that have blighted the start of their Premier League title defence.

They let in four goals at Manchester United on Saturday and, having conceded just 11 times in their final 20 games last season, have shipped the same number in six league games this term.

Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, who takes charge on Tuesday, has handed out 11 yellow cards and one red in his last two games.

“Yes, we concede a lot of goals,” Ranieri said. “I spoke to players yesterday and they were scared. What the referees speak about is not a new rule, it’s something we’re used to doing. I said why change?

“Last season we were one of the best in league and conceded very few goals from the set pieces and now we leave four metres. Now I can’t jump? We have to go back to our strengths.”

Leicester are tipped to get out of the group following their opening win in Belgium where Marc Albrighton scored their first-ever Champions League goal before Riyad Mahrez’s double settled the game.

Winger Albrighton admited the Foxes are having it difficult to adapt to being the champions after being underdogs last season before their stunning 5,000-1 title triumph, but thrive on defying the odds.

He said: “Obviously last season it was nice to be the underdogs. It was good to defy the odds and go on to win those games. I wouldn’t say we are feeling the pressure of that. We have had a tough start to the Premier League campaign – we have played Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool and they are tough games.

“Obviously the manner in which we have lost is not good but to say we prefer being underdogs isn’t really true. We go into every game the same. In the Champions League, it will be no different. We are probably underdogs again but it will play no part in our mindset. We will try to win the game as we always do.”

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is expected to return for Leicester after missing three games with a groin problem but midfielder Nampalys Mendy will be missing again with an ankle problem

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