Seeing Leicester City in such fine form is certainly bitter sweet.
While it's undoubtedly refreshing to see the champions reviving their lethal counterattacking tactics, supporters and pundits alike are still finding the absence of Claudio Ranieri hard to swallow. It’s certainly a touchy subject.
However, the shock decision to dismiss the Italian has done more than irritate those at home and in the stands but those in the profession too. In fact, the Foxes’ handling of situation appeared to scupper their plans for an instant replacement.
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If you completely ignore last season, the decision to sack Ranieri proves something of a no-brainer. After all, a Champions League side that had spent over £60 million in the transfer window should not be seen teetering so close to the bottom three.
That being said, you simply can’t dismiss 2015-16. It proved a whirlwind nine months that saw Ranieri turn relegation favourites into a team winning the world’s most competitive league by 10 points.
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Consequently, what seems a perfectly pragmatic decision is thoroughly undermined by its cowardice.
As a result, the Foxes suddenly executing a string of four wins in a row has raised a very many questions. Above all: why didn’t they play like that under Ranieri?
The obvious difference is the ascension of Craig Shakespeare. Nevertheless, its questionable how a man embarking on his first role as number one can serve to solely outshine the spearhead of a Premier League title charge.
Besides, it has emerged that the 53-year-old wasn’t even the Foxes’ first choice when the axe fell on Ranieri. Moreover, their handling of the issue has seen them shoot themselves in the foot.
Despite the transition to Shakespeare appearing somewhat swift, Leicester weren’t willing to immediately pander to their number two. In fact, they wanted to replace one Italian with another and Cesar Prandelli in particular.
Having resigned from his role as Valencia boss in December, the ex-Italy manager was available for an England switch. The man himself was having none of it, though.
Speaking to SFR Sport and as highlighted by FourFourTwo, Prandelli revealed how the Ranieri factor influenced his decision.
The 59-year-old explained: "There was an approach [from Leicester], but I immediately said no. You don't go to a place like that after seeing how Ranieri was treated. You don't go there. Full stop.
"Football management is an extraordinarily difficult, but wonderful job. In recent years there are big changes between the way coaches and players deal with each other.
"For example, Ranieri achieved something extraordinary that could not be repeated. A coach who wins a memorable, historic title and is then dumped after a few months.
"When responsibility is all on the shoulders of one person, he can't hold it. If that responsibility is shared with the club, directors and players, then it becomes far simpler.
“A coach needs to just be a coach. When he is asked to do other jobs, it becomes complicated."
It’s fair to say Prandelli was pretty confident in his decision. The Italian appears nothing short of disgusted by Leicester’s treatment of his compatriot and when you dwell on the achievement of last year, why blame him?
Nevertheless, the Foxes are doing just fine without a big name manager. After all, just this weekend saw Shakespeare inspire the champions to their very first Premier League away win of the season.
As long as Ranieri isn’t sat in the dug out though, it just won’t be the same. Period.
Do you think Leicester City would have been relegated under Claudio Ranieri? Have YOUR say in the comment box below
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