(Reuters) - Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has urged his players to stay focussed in matches and work better as a team in order to recapture the consistency that propelled them to an unexpected Premier League triumph last season.
Leicester have endured a mixed start to the season and sit 12th in the Premier League having lost three of their opening six games, but they top their Champions League group after successive wins.
“Now we’re up and down. In the Premier League we play so-so, and Champions League we’ve been good so far, but I want consistency. There’s no magic formula but it’s important to maintain the same concentration (in games),” Ranieri told reporters on Friday.
”It’s important for us to take confidence and make a good link with each other... everybody is doing a very good job but not together.
“I push a lot in this way and the players are important to stay together and play as a team. I hope to make some matches in a row with a clean sheet... When you have a clean sheet you increase your confidence, you stay solid and get better.”
On Sunday Leicester host ninth-placed Southampton, who are looking for a third straight win after recovering from a sluggish start to the campaign, and Ranieri said he was aware of the threat the opposition pose.
“They play very well and are very solid, move the ball well and are dangerous up front. At this moment they are fantastic,” the 64-year-old Italian said.
Ranieri added that midfielder Nampalys Mendy could make his first appearance since injuring his ankle in August and that goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will be available after missing their last two league games through injury.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis