Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho may have different expectations for the season, but the pressure on both managers remains intense.
Frank Sinclair believes Leicester will have to ‘hit the ground running’ if they are to avoid getting embroiled in another relegation battle from the Premiership.
The 43-year-old says it is unlikely that his former club can repeat the form they showed towards the end of last season, winning six out of their last eight league games, which ensured their Premier League status.
Sinclair, the current player manager at Brackley Town, told World Soccer that the owners had little choice in turning to a new manager after their relationship with Nigel Pearson had broken down, due to a combination of on and off the field incidents.
He said: “I know Claudio Ranieri’s appointment has received mixed reviews but I personally think it is a very good choice. Under Nigel Pearson the team played an open attacking style which was attractive to watch without always achieving the right result. In my opinion Claudio will make them more difficult to beat by adapting a more disciplined approach to their play.
“The owners could have given Nigel an opportunity to start the season but if the team was struggling in the first six or seven games, they would have had to sack him and quickly find a replacement. It is not easy bringing in someone new in such circumstances. This way they have given Claudio a full pre-season and plenty of time to get the squad ready for the season ahead.”
Once a record signing for the East Midlands club, Sinclair admits it will not be easy to replace Esteban Cambiasso, who has declined to stay at the King Power Stadium. However he is confident that the Italian – who has managed in a number of European leagues since his sacking from Chelsea in 2004 – will be able to attract a quality replacement for the Argentinian midfielder.
He added: “I have heard people say that the Premiership has moved on since his time at Chelsea. Others have pointed out his last job with the Greek national team lasted only four months. As far as I’m concerned he possesses a wealth of experience due to managing high profile clubs and big name players in Italy, France and Spain. He brings with him an extensive contacts book and that can only be of benefit to Leicester in the transfer market.”
Although the former Jamaican internationalist maintains an interest in Leicester City’s fortunes, he is a boyhood supporter of Chelsea, where he spent eight years winning both the FA and League Cup.
He insists that the lack of transfer activity at Stamford Bridge is not a cause for concern.
He continued: “I’m sure Jose Mourinho will bring in a few new faces but I don’t think the team requires major changes. They have a very strong first eleven. They spent a lot of money on the likes of [Mohamed] Salah, [Filipe] Luis and [Juan] Cuadrado and they have all struggled to make an impact. It is not easy breaking into a winning team.”
The Portuguese manager admitted to feeling “hurt” that football supporters in England did not see “the real Falcao”, who spent last season on loan at Manchester United. Chelsea stepped in after the Colombian was not offered a permanent deal or extension at Old Trafford after failing to impress Louis Van Gaal.
A regular analyst with Chelsea TV Sinclair is expecting the striker to find his goal scoring touch in West London.
Sinclair concluded: “It was only a few years ago he was one of the world’s leading strikers. He formed a great partnership with Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid.
“Being around a familiar face can only help him rediscover that form and reaching those high standards once again. I also feel his style of play is more suited to Chelsea. Living in London will also suit him.”
Interview by Imran Azam