Srivaddhanaprabha: Leicester players not behind Ranieri sacking

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Vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has refuted claims that Leicester City's senior players brought about the downfall of Claudio Ranieri.

Last Thursday, 10 months on from Leicester's scarcely believable Premier League title triumph, the club sacked the 65-year-old Italian on the back of five consecutive top-flight defeats.

That slump left City in the relegation zone ahead of Monday's match with Liverpool at the King Power Stadium and, in a column in the matchday programme, Srivaddhanaprabha insisted he and his colleagues on the board were solely responsible for a decision that has been met with widespread derision.

Over the weekend, the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy distanced themselves from claims of a dressing room coup.

"This week we made the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years with Leicester City," Srivaddhanaprabha wrote. "I don't expect everyone to understand it and I know that some people are angry about it, but we have to think about the club's long-term interests and the best way to bring the club we love forward.

"Everything we have ever done for the club has been to help make it stronger and with the long-term future in mind. Carrying that responsibility means making decisions that are not always popular and we respect the views of the fans, but responsibility ultimately rests with us.

"We will forever be grateful to Claudio for what he helped us to achieve and the warmth, charm and good humour he brought to his office that helped move the club forward.

"The achievements of last season were extraordinary and we never expected them to be replicated, but we are now faced with a fight to retain out Premier League status and, with 13 games remaining, we felt a change of leadership was necessary.

"It's a painful decision, but our love for the club means we must put its best interests before personal feeling.

"This was our decision, our decision alone and it is unfair that our players, who supported Claudio fiercely, are being accused of disloyalty."

Amid widespread outcry from Leicester's outcry, Srivaddhanaprabha also made a plea for unity to ensure Ranieri and Leicester's finest hour does not have a postscript of relegation.

"We have more than a quarter of the season to turn this situation around, but we can only do it together," he added.

"The most important thing for us all now is to make sure that Leicester City remain a Premier League football club and we must unite under that cause to protect the legacy of what we and Claudio have achieved."