Derby the underdogs in FA Cup replay at Leicester - Steve McClaren

07 February 2017 05:24

Derby boss Steve McClaren insists his team remain underdogs against Leicester despite the Premier League champions' problems.

Leicester's owners issued a statement on the eve of Wednesday night's FA Cup fourth round replay pledging their "unwavering support" for manager Claudio Ranieri, who has come under increasing scrutiny following a miserable run of results.

Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester United left Leicester just one point above the relegation zone.

Derby also head into the match on the back of a league loss but McClaren's side are fighting for promotion from the Championship via the play-offs.

"We are the underdogs again," McClaren told reporters at his press conference. "I'm not concentrating on Leicester and their situation. I'm looking for a performance from my team - individually and collectively.

"Leicester are a very good team on their day and are very capable of reaching the heights of last season again.

"I watched the Man United game and for the first 40 minutes, Leicester were back to their usual aggressive, pressing selves. But they are not getting the goals that they were last season and Man United turned it around.

"The King Power Stadium is a tough place to go and we must concentrate on ourselves. The players have the belief and they will need to show confidence and get off to a good start."

Leicester are in danger of becoming the first defending champions since Manchester City in 1938 to be relegated but McClaren expects Ranieri to turn it around.

"Someone said the other day that after what he did for them last season, there should be a statue of him outside the stadium," he said.

"Their achievement should be appreciated - and it has been. I think we all knew that it wasn't going to be the same this season.

"Claudio has said the target this season was 40 points - will he achieve it? Without a shadow of a doubt, in my opinion. He's got the players for that.

"It's a bit of a sideshow, a circus, that's part of the theatre of football. It's not very nice but Claudio is experienced and I'm sure he will be staying calm, stable, and keep the players together."

Source: PA


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