Football

Claudio Ranieri.

Claudio Ranieri explains the problem Alvaro Morata has given Chelsea

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Claudio Ranieri will always be remembered as the man that did the impossible and led Leicester to the Premier League title.

Of course, it all ended in tears not even a season later as the Italian was axed from the King Power Stadium and his grand achievement was virtually considered a distant memory.

That's pretty mental, really. But, it wasn't the Tinkerman's first taste of English heartache.

Ranieri was sacked as manager of Chelsea 2004 after one year of the Roman Abramovich era and replaced with Jose Mourinho.

That's despite breaking club records for the fewest goals conceded and the highest number of points in a season, they finished second in the league and reached the Champions League semi-finals.

The Blues have become one of Europe's biggest clubs in the years since Ranieri's departure and are the current reigning Premier League champions.

However, they currently sit fourth in the table and are nine points behind Manchester City at the summit - so what's gone wrong? Ranieri thinks the answer lies in their striker.

He told Corriere dello Sport: “What has Chelsea’s problem been so far? It’s down to the injuries and the changes in the squad. It’s not easy to go from Diego Costa to Morata.

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“The first is a leader, he carries the team on his shoulders and plays with anger, with force and sheer will. The other is more of a dribbler.

“When you change your centre-forward, you have to also change your approach.”

Chelsea have 18 points while scoring 18 goals and conceding 10 in their first 10 games this season, but at the same stage last season, they had three points more, conceded one goal less and scored four goals more.

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That's a slight, but noticeable decline across the board, but is that Morata's fault? The Spaniard has scored seven goals in 11 appearances for the Blues and has generally been praised for the way he has led the line for Antonio Conte's men, particularly in the away win over Atletico Madrid.

For Ranieri, he has led Nantes to fifth in the Ligue 1 table and they too are, ironically, nine points off the top of the league.

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