‘Last man to know’: For Ranieri, lunch with mum trumps Spurs vs Chelsea
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri will not watch Tottenham Hotspur’s pivotal meeting with Chelsea because he is flying home to Italy to take his 96-year-old mother out for lunch.football Updated: May 02, 2016 12:43 IST
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri will not watch Tottenham Hotspur’s pivotal meeting with Chelsea because he is flying home to Italy to take his 96-year-old mother out for lunch.
Following their 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Sunday, Leicester will be crowned champions for the first time in their 132-year history if second-place Tottenham fail to win at Ranieri’s former club Chelsea on Monday.
But despite the outcome of his team’s extraordinary season now potentially hanging on events at Stamford Bridge, the 64-year-old Italian said that he had more pressing matters to attend to.
“Tomorrow night I am on a flight,” Ranieri told reporters at Old Trafford.
“Because now I go back to Italy, after I finish the press conference, and I come back at the same time of the match. I will be the last man to know the result.”
“I want to meet my mother. (She is) 96 years old and I’d like to go to have lunch with her.”
Asked where his mother lived, Ranieri flashed his inquisitor a smile and said: “I don’t tell you.”
While Leicester could have secured the Premier League title with victory at Old Trafford, the odds remain stacked overwhelmingly in their favour.
But captain Wes Morgan, whose 17th-minute headed goal cancelled out Anthony Martial’s early opener, warned: “It’s not ours until we get two hands on the trophy.”
Commenting on the game, which compromised United’s chances of a top-four finish, he added: “It was very tough. Manchester United dominated possession and we had to dig in and be resilient.”
“It’s a point and it’s a step in the right direction. It proved to be an important goal and to score at Old Trafford was a great feeling.”
United captain Wayne Rooney conceded that his side’s hopes of Champions League qualification had receded, but felt that the scoreline was not a fair reflection of the game.
“We were the better team and deserved to win in my opinion,” he told Sky Sports. “Leicester have made it tough for teams all season but I felt we had the better chances.”
“(Finishing in the top four) is going to be difficult now. We’re relying on other teams and we’re going to have to take maximum points from our remaining games.”
United manager Louis van Gaal admitted that it would now be “tougher” for his side to finish in the top four but praised his players for what he described as “one of our best matches of the season”.
The Dutchman was also involved in a curious post-match incident when he reacted to a question about Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini by grabbing a television reporter’s hair.
Fellaini is likely to face retrospective action from the Football Association after catching Robert Huth in the jaw with his elbow but Van Gaal said that he had been provoked by the German pulling his hair.
“When you see what Huth is doing with Fellaini, is that not a penalty?” Van Gaal asked.
“When I grab your hair... Your hair is much shorter. Every human being who is grabbed with their hair would react.”
Leicester finished with 10 men after former United midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who set up Morgan’s equaliser, was shown a second yellow card in the 86th minute for hauling back substitute Memphis Depay.
The offence occurred right on the edge of the Leicester box, but although referee Michael Oliver awarded a free-kick rather than a penalty, Van Gaal did not complain.
“We need the video referee and even when we see on the video Memphis with Drinkwater, Drinkwater makes the foul, but to see if it is in or out is very difficult,” he said.