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Claudio Ranieri's success could make club owners more trigger-happy

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Whether or not Leicester City win the Premier League, there can be little doubt they are the story of the 2015-16 season. From being the great escape artists of 2014-15, when relegation to the Championship had been all but a certainty at one time, essentially the same group of players have taken the club to the very threshold of claiming their first ever title win.

Considering the clubs they were up against, and how much those clubs had spent, this is no mean achievement, and in one season they've become everyone's favourite to win the league beyond their own club.

Their success is largely down to the shrewd tactical nous of manager Claudio Ranieri, who has risen from the low point of seeing his Greek team lose to the Faroe Islands, to almost becoming the manager of the English champions.

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Beginning his time at the club with Gary Lineker's comments about his suitability for the job ringing in his ears, he has taken a group of largely decent but not exactly top quality players and turned them into a team capable of living with, and often beating, the best. Players like Robert Huth and Danny Drinkwater, largely unsung before this season, have been the bedrock of the team. Jamie Vardy has come from nowhere to become an England international, offering a serious threat to Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney up front, and in Riyad Mahrez, Leicester have a viable contender for player of the season.

But, what does this success mean for other managers of struggling Premier League teams? When Chelsea appointed Antonio Conte to succeed Guus Hiddink after the European Championships in the summer, his brief was simple; bring the title back to the Bridge. Pep Guardiola will be given similar instructions when he arrives at City, and it can be safely assumed whoever replaces Van Gaal at Old Trafford will be told the Europa League isn't good enough.

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However, when clubs like, Stoke, West Brom or Everton appoint their managers, their initial task is ensuring the club remains amongst the elite in the Premier League. When Leicester appointed Ranieri, this was what he was expected to do. Yet he has created a potentially title winning team out of the squad he inherited from Nigel Pearson.

He's shown it's possible to take good players, evolve a playing system which maximises the strengths of those players, motivate them to believe in themselves and, in so doing, create a playing 'synergy' whereby the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts, and to maximum effect.

In doing this, Ranieri has quite likely made managing any club outside of the top clubs in the League an impossibility. One can imagine a chairman saying to a new manager, "Ranieri created a title winning team out of so-so, players. Our squad is at least as good. You know what I'm saying?"

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League

The implication is, finishing just outside the top eight is no longer good enough. It's success or the door marked 'exit.' Can we expect to see a whole slew of managerial casualties as a result? Has Ranieri become the benchmark against which all managers of the so-called non-elite clubs will now be measured against?

This could become one of the unexpected consequences of Leicester City's quite sensational season. Football fans will appreciate what he's done. Whether his managerial colleagues do, is another matter.

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Topics:
Leicester City
Football
Premier League
Wes Morgan
Robert Huth

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