Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri. / AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDClaudio Ranieri hopes Leicester’s FA Cup victory against Derby can provide a springboard to ease the spluttering champions’ relegation fears.
Ranieri’s side got a welcome boost as they moved into the last 16 of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win in a fourth round replay at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.
Goals from Andy King, Wilfred Ndidi and Demarai Gray sealed Leicester’s first win in six matches at a most opportune moment.
Leicester are only one point above the Premier League relegation zone and face a crucial clash at fellow strugglers Swansea on Sunday.
Ranieri, who received a vote of confidence from the club’s Thai owners this week, believes the Cup success can lift spirits just in time to pull away from the bottom three.
“In this moment everything goes wrong but tonight one thing went right. Derby played good football and we won,” Ranieri said.
“This is what we needed and I wanted. Wilfred Ndidi made a very good goal, as did Demarai Gray.
“I’m happy with Ndidi. This young player full of personality and good character. We’ve chosen well.
“We want to do well in all competitions. We want to go forward in the FA Cup.
“The Premier League is not so good but we have to stay in the Premier League. This fresh air is good for the players.”
King has seen many ups and downs during his long spell with Leicester and the midfielder echoed Ranieri’s hope that the team’s fortunes could be taking a turn for the better.
“It’s been a tough few weeks and we’ve been getting a lot of criticism. Tonight we showed the fight we have got in the squad,” King said.
“It was important to get a win tonight to try to kickstart some form to take into the league.
“We have 14 massive games left in the league but now we are through in a couple of rounds of the cup. Why can’t we write another story in that?”