Claudio Ranieri: 'Demarai Gray not guaranteed starting role'

The Algeria worldwide was a shining light last season, his performances earning him the player of they year vote from his peers, but he has barely flickered this campaign, with his own form directly reflecting that of the champions.

"This season we scored very few goals".

"We know we have quality in this team and we know if we do things properly we will stay in the Premier League".

Ranieri ruled Ulloa out of contention for Saturday's meeting with an in-form Swansea, but suggested that he may yet be called upon later in the season.

"It's a big game at Swansea". We need the supporters to get right behind us now.

But Mahrez insists Leicester don't want any end-of-season excitement for all the wrong reasons. We need to just focus on the last 14 games and make sure we are safe. And there's no question Premier League teams are gunning for the Leicester as they would for any other defending champion.

'Body language? What has happened to Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez?

"I speak with the owner".

"You know when Riyad plays well our team changes face".

Gray has featured 18 times in the Premier League this season, but all but five of those appearances have come from the bench. I just need to keep working and everything will come back normally. He tries and is positive. He is trying, he is positive and I am very happy when he is positive. They have shown that unfortunately with Nigel [Pearson] when he kept Leicester in the Premier League, in the awesome escape which I was involved with, and during the summer they got rid of him. "I have a very good relationship with him", Ranieri added.

Ranieri says he spoken to Mahrez along with misfiring striker Vardy, although the Italian refused to go public on the details of his pep talk.

"It is always interesting chat when three of us are in the room!" "All my players must be ready because, sooner or later, I will need them".

"I am part of the team and we are confident".

"Defending your title is hard for any team, not just Leicester. If it is difficult for the team then it is difficult for me as well, so we just need to work hard and I think everything is going to come back to normal". I'm not anxious about myself.

Vardy, meanwhile, only has five goals in 21 outings having netted 24 times when Leicester won the title and under-pressure Ranieri has spoken to the star duo in a bid to get them back on track. "[This is] a very tough match for us". He is not 100 per cent.

Vardy is a doubt for the game with Ranieri revealing: "Jamie had a kick on a muscle and we want to check how he trains. I want to check".

  • Leroy Wright