Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Manchester United is not a friendly, Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri said on Friday, vowing his side will give the “maximum” in pursuit of victory.
The encounter between Ranieri’s Premier League champions Leicester and Jose Mourinho’s FA Cup winners United marks the traditional start of the English domestic season.
The shield itself is not as highly prized as the league title or either of the domestic cups, but having never managed at Wembley before, Ranieri is determined to emerge victorious.
“Why do you ask this question, a friendly? When is the Community Shield a friendly?” the Italian asked reporters during his pre-match press conference at Leicester’s training centre.
“Of course we will be at the maximum and Manchester United will be at their maximum. The two teams want to win. I am very excited.
“When I was in the final of the FA Cup (with Chelsea against Arsenal in 2002) Wembley was being rebuilt and we played in Cardiff.”
With French midfielder N’Golo Kante having left for Chelsea in a 30 million pounds ($39.5 million, 35.4 million euros) move, Ranieri has already lost one key cog from his 5,000-1 title-winning side.
He lost another key collaborator last month when assistant Steve Walsh, the man credited with unearthing stars like Kante and Riyad Mahrez, became director of football at Everton.
Ranieri’s other assistant, Craig Shakespeare, is in talks with the Football Association about joining new England manager Sam Allardyce’s back-room staff.
But with the role proposed reported to be a part-time one, Ranieri says that Shakespeare has his blessing.
“Yes, I will be very happy,” said Ranieri, who could hand competitive debuts to new signings Ahmed Musa, Nampalys Mendy and Luis Hernandez against United.
“I watched Craig in the training sessions. He is very focused on the job. If there is some news I will speak to you (the media). I will speak when something happens.”
Jamie Vardy, Leicester’s top scorer last season with 24 league goals, has recovered from a wrist operation, but is still expected to wear his trademark protective cast.