Millwall boss questions Ranieri speculation

THE speculation over the future of Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is "crazy", according to Neil Harris. 

Ranieri guided the Foxes to a stunning Premier League title success last season, but they have collapsed in this campaign and no league win in 2017 has dropped them closer to the relegation zone.

Some are questioning whether the club should replace the former Chelsea boss and asked what he thought of that, Harris said: “Crazy, because the man is a legend in English football, and world football.

“What he achieved last year was the unthinkable.

“How he sustained a title push was against all the odds. The person he is, the personality he gives off, it’s a breath of fresh air. It was last year and it is this year.

“His honesty, the rapport he has with his players, with the club, with the supporters is fantastic. Modern society dictates that any manager, whatever you have achieved, you’re in the spotlight and under pressure, and that’s football.

“Do I think he should be doing what he is doing? One hundred per cent, yes. I certainly look forward to meeting him at the weekend.”

Millwall are on a completely different trajectory to Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round opponents, but went winless in six league games earlier in the season to fall to within one place of League One's bottom three.

A 3-1 south London derby win over Charlton Athletic before Christmas sparked their current 12-game unbeaten run, and Harris admitted it is often not easy to pinpoint how form can so drastically and quickly change.

“Whatever level, whatever experience you’ve got, sometimes it’s hard to understand, whether you’re managing in the Premier League or an u10s team, when you go from one extreme to another in one game or over a period of time,” he said.

“Rhyme or reason for it? The experts will make their call on it. I always say form is temporary, class is permanent.

“I see a squad of very talented players that have graced the world stage and the Premier League.

“Leicester should be in the sixth round of the FA Cup this year. The Premier League should have eight teams in the quarter-finals because of the ability they’ve got in their dressing rooms.

“Leicester and their fans will see it as an opportunity to get past us. We see it as an opportunity for an upset.”

This will be Millwall’s fifth successive home tie in the competition, and Harris feels their previous wins have sparked their season at certain times.

He said: “We’ve had four excellent games of football, fortunately four home games. Southend was a great local derby played at one hell of a tempo. Both teams really going for it because they didn’t want a replay.

“Braintree came with a chance to upset us in our backyard and that was a really tough one for us in an open game of football. And we’ve had two Premier League opponents and we’ve enjoyed the challenges and the upsets and the adulation that my players have received, it’s been welcome.

“All four games have given us momentum for different reasons at different stages of the season.

“Can we make it five in a row? Of course we can. We have the belief that we can but we’re going to have to be at our best to do it. This would be the biggest giant-killing of the three. It’s a tough ask.”

Millwall have sold out The Den for the first time since facing Oldham Athletic in the last game of the 2000-01 season, a game Harris scored in as his side won the Second Division.

“What the players do here and what they will benefit from on Saturday is that they feed off the fans,” Harris said.

“I draw from my experience and say nothing to lose, everything to gain. It’s an easy team-talk.

“The players will feed off the challenge that faces them collectively, but probably more so individually in terms of wanting to be better against the person they’re playing against.”

Image: Action Plus 

John Kelly


2 thoughts on “Millwall boss questions Ranieri speculation

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