Reports emerged that some players wanted him out, and Leicester has responded with much improved form. But Ranieri says the impetus for his firing, beyond results, came from somewhere else, according to Sky Sports.
“I cannot believe that my players killed me. No, no, no.”
“Maybe it could be somebody behind me, but also the little problem I had the year before and we won the title. Maybe these people, this year, when we lose they push a little more. That’s it. I don’t want to tell. I am a serious man, a loyal man. What I have to say, I say face-to-face.”
“As soon as I heard I told my agent directly that I wanted this move,” he added. “I left it to him then, he spoke to the Club more, and then to the trainer and we all wanted to make this move happen. It is good for me, it is good for the Club to bring me here for five months and I am very happy about that.”
Just how big of a bounce back will there be for Man City? Manchester City vs. Newcastle United — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]
The manager, who turned 47 on Thursday, saw Liverpool use a frantic second half spell to boost a 4-3 win and end hopes of an unbeaten PL season.
And while Jurgen Klopp‘s high press kept them off-kilter for most of the first half and had them rattled early in the second, City still came within a late free kick to finding a point.
Enter Newcastle, a club that flustered them at St. James’ Park last month and came within a Dwight Gayle-turned header of finding a point for Christmas.
So how angry is City after its first loss of the season? Maybe a better word is motivated, and we expect that City will hang a big number on Rafa Benitez‘s men considering the Spaniard isn’t likely to try to repeat what worked for Klopp.
Wobbly Burnley plays host to sound Manchester United
Burnley vs. Manchester United — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
Jose Mourinho’s men head to Turf Moor with Alexis Sanchez expected to join their side any day and both Liverpool and Chelsea three points behind the Red Devils.
Believe it or not, though, the match is more pivotal for the hosts, who are in danger of slipping deep into the back of chasers after their stingy and resolute start to the season had the Clarets aiming for a Top Seven place.
Now Leicester is within three of the 7th place Clarets, and Everton is seven back with two big additions in place of need. If Burnley wants to stay in the race for seventh, it needs to get its first win in seven tries. Seven’s the number, you see?
United hasn’t allowed a goal in four matches, dating back to a 2-2 draw on Dec. 26… against Burnley.
Will the Gunners show signs of life after tumultuous week(s)?
Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC [ STREAM ]
Arsenal’s first loss in a month turned “unbeaten in seven” to “one win in five,” and Arsene Wenger‘s men look set to lose Alexis Sanchez and have already watched last season’s second-leading scorer, Theo Walcott, skip town for Everton.
Meanwhile, Palace played the Gunners tight in a 3-2 loss on Dec. 28, and that was the Eagles’ only Premier League loss since a 1-0 defeat at Spurs on Nov. 5.
Is Liverpool going to stay motivated? Swansea City vs. Liverpool — 3 p.m. ET Monday [ STREAM ]
On the surface this is silly, especially with Virgil Van Dijk happy to return to the fold. Yet Liverpool has a knack of playing down to its opponents. The Reds are coming off a major win over Manchester City and have the knowledge of a recent battering of cellar-dwelling Swans in their back pocket. Will they rise up on Monday? The national focus could help.
With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.
BASICALLY, FREE MONEY
Burnley 0-3 Man United – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]
Man City 4-1 Newcastle – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]
Southampton 0-3 Tottenham – (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]
Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM]
West Ham 2-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]
Swansea City 0-3 Liverpool – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]
DON’T TOUCH THIS…
Leicester City 2-1 Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]
Brighton 1-2 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]
Stoke City 1-1 Huddersfield – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]
Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.
FULL TV SCHEDULE
Saturday 7:30 a.m. ET: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace – CNBC [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United – NBC [STREAM]
11 a.m. ET: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]
Monday 3 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]