Leicester City’s decision to sack Claudio Ranieri at this stage of the Premier League season has bemused supporters.
Nine months on from orchestrating the greatest triumph in English football history, the Italian finds himself without a job. From hero to zero in the blink of an eye.
In a statement on the club’s website, vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha pointed to the club’s domestic struggles - Leicester are one place and one point above the drop zone - as justification for Ranieri’s exit.
“We are duty-bound to put the Club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment, no matter how strong that might be,” Srivaddhanaprabha said.
“It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season. Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target at the start of the campaign.
“But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games.”
Kante's been a big miss
Leicester have been unable to cope with the demands placed on them by Champions League football, while N’Golo Kante’s departure to Chelsea last summer is another big reason for their downfall.
But to go from the best team in the country to bordering on relegation requires a drastic change within the club. Something that Ranieri introduced, or took away, that has upset his players.
The changes that angered Leicester players
According to the Mirror, Leicester stars complained to the board about the manager after he decided to change “everything”.
That included tinkering with the line-up regularly and even replacing chicken burgers as the post-match meal with pasta.
Those two decisions “angered” the players, and there was no way back once the Foxes starting falling down the table.
There have been hints about unrest among Leicester’s players.
After Wednesday’s defeat to Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel admitted improvements had to be made by everyone at the club.
“Every single member of this club has to give more because we need to get out of the situation we are in in the Premier League,” the Dane said, via the Mirror.
Ranieri gave everything he could, and even delivered a Premier League trophy, but that wasn’t enough.