Leicester (United Kingdom): Wilfred Ndidi put a smile back on Claudio Ranieri’s face as the Leicester midfielder’s first goal for the troubled champions inspired a 3-1 win over Derby in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth round replay. Ranieri has found himself under fire after Leicester slumped to within one point of the Premier League relegation zone less than a year after their fairytale title triumph.
Amid claims Ranieri has lost the support of his squad, the club’s Thai owners gave the Leicester boss a vote of confidence on Tuesday. But Ranieri was in danger of an embarrassing Cup exit when second tier Derby forced extra-time at the King Power Stadium thanks to an Abdoul Camara equaliser after Andy King’s opener.
Ndidi was Ranieri’s saviour as the Nigeria international, who joined from Belgian club Genk in January, came off the bench to score with a superb long-range effort before Demarai Gray’s solo strike clinched Leicester’s first win in six matches. Next up for Leicester in the Cup is a fifth round trip to third tier Millwall on February 18, but Ranieri knows ensuring top-flight survival is all that matters this season.
Having labelled Sunday’s trip to fellow strugglers Swansea as a “big battle” it was no surprise Ranieri made 10 changes from last weekend’s 3-0 defeat against Manchester United. And with Derby boss Steve McClaren making eight changes for the promotion chasers....