Claudio Ranieri has claimed that reigning Premier League champions Leicester City are not favourites to win their FA Cup fifth round clash against League One Millwall on Saturday.
The Foxes boss revealed that he will make 10 changes to his usual starting lineup, as he bids to save the reigning Premier League champions from an unwanted relegation to the Championship just 12 months after winning an unprecedented league title.
In quotes published by Sky Sports, Ranieri also insisted that it was his side, and not Championship outfit Millwall, who would be underdogs for the clash at the Den after the Lions saw off top flight clubs Bournemouth and Watford in previous rounds of the competition.
"I make a lot of changes. All my team is new and there will be 10 changes again," he said.
"Millwall have beaten two Premier League teams. We know this and we are underdogs. If they beat Bournemouth and Watford, they are above us.
"Our target is the Premier League - that is it. Of course we play in the FA Cup and Champions League and we want to do our best, but our aim is to be safe at the end."
Claudio #Ranieri enters media room and shakes every single journalist & camera operators' hand before starting. What a gentleman.— Lee Wellings (@LeeW_Sport) February 16, 2017
The Italian rung the changes for Leicester's fourth round replay victory over Derby County in late January and, with massive games against Sevilla and Liverpool in the Champions League and Premier League to come, is expected to do likewise again.
Ranieri went on to defend his decision to chop and change his playing personnel against Millwall, as the 'Tinkerman' stated that Premier League survival was at the forefront of his mind ahead of FA Cup or Champions League glory.
He continued: "The goal is the Premier League. I want to give another opportunity to the players who played against Derby for them to show how good they are.
"Believe me, I don't think about Sevilla (in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday), I think about Millwall.
"Our focus is on Millwall because they are in good shape. They beat Bournemouth and Watford. From December 17, they don't lose and they score goals. Everything is fantastic (for them). They fight. We know everything and we are positive."
Ranieri's desire to find a winning formula for his side, who have lost five of the last six league matches, has seen his nickname from his Chelsea days rear its head once more and, with the Foxes sitting just one point above the drop zone, Ranieri took full responsibility for any further tweaks he would make to his lineup in the coming weeks.
Chris Sutton reckons Leicester should sack Claudio Ranieri. "I don't see how he can keep his job," he said.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 14, 2017
Yeah, Chris, it's a mystery. pic.twitter.com/z955udWAJL
He added: "It's a great opportunity for our players. I could change it all on Saturday and change it all again for Sevilla and then again for the Liverpool match.
"It's my responsibility. I always put the best team on the pitch every time. Who says if Ranieri put same team who won against Derby maybe we would win against Swansea?"
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