Leicester coach Ranieri denies Mahrez injury concerns

London, March 6 (IANS) Leicester City head coach Claudio Ranieri has said he had no concerns over the fitness of match-winner Riyad Mahrez, despite his late withdrawal during the 1-0 win at Watford in the English Premier League (EPL).

Mahrez, whose brilliant 56th-minute goal on Saturday sent the Foxes five points clear at the top of the EPL, halted a breakaway clutching the back of his leg later in the second half, before being replaced by Daniel Amartey five minutes from time.

But City boss Ranieri said his Algerian forward was simply suffering from fatigue after a typically hard-working shift, sprinkled with magic.

“It’s not an injury, just a little cramp, but his job was done and I prefer to change him,” Claudio told Leicester’s official website.

“It was nothing. He wanted to continue, but I thought his job was done. We had to be solid in defence.”

Mahrez’s 15th goal of the season — a stunning left-foot finish from the edge of the box — was enough to settle a tight encounter at the Vicarage Road stadium, where the Foxes once again showed the steel to match their undeniable style.

And Ranieri’s feelings on his goalscorer perfectly summed up the approach of his relentless team.

“Riyad has such good skills, but he knows he must also work very hard for the team,” Claudio said.

“In the position he plays, he can get on the ball and be very dangerous for the opposition, but he can also help his teammates.”

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