Manager Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City’s players and fans may be in hot water following ill-discipline and off-field crowd behaviour during the 10-man champions’ remarkable 2-2 fightback at Stoke City on Saturday.
The normally unflappable Ranieri has rarely ever appeared more enraged as he confronted referee Craig Pawson at the interval following a stormy first half during which Jamie Vardy was sent off and Leicester fell two goals behind.
The Italian, though, was back at his affable best after his team’s “fantastic” revival.
As they were coming off the pitch at the break, Ranieri and some of his players remonstrated with Pawson and, as the official passed Leicester supporters while accompanied by security, coins appeared to be thrown at him.
The game had reached boiling point after Pawson dismissed Vardy contentiously for a two-footed lunge that had not connected with Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf.
In midweek, Pawson had a similar call to make over a challenge from Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo at Crystal Palace and only gave him a yellow card.
Of this apparent inconsistency, Ranieri shrugged: “I don’t want to speak about this, every match is different. We must respect the referee every time.
“I said nothing to him at halftime. I just wanted to show to our fans, to my players, that I was there. There was nothing wrong.”
The sending-off set the tone for five yellow cards to be shown to Leicester players in seven minutes before the break and with a sixth brandished soon after halftime, Leicester are in line for an FA fine.
Of the objects being thrown on the pitch, Ranieri said: “I didn’t see them. Of course I would be disappointed (if they did).”
Ranieri had to be restrained by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as he tried to get his vigorous point across to Pawson.
“I was angry because I saw my players were fighting a lot. There were so many yellow cards and in my opinion it was just a normal battle in the Premier League,” said Ranieri.
“At halftime we spoke a lot and continued to believe something good could be possible. I am always positive.”
Not even he, however, could have quite imagined the final 15 minutes during which goals from substitute Leonardo Ulloa and Daniel Amartey earned Leicester only their second away point all season.
“It could be a turning point today but we have to wait and see the next matches,” Ranieri said. – Reuters