Leicester City will play it safe and field a second-string side in their inconsequential final Group G Champions League match against Porto on Wednesday, manager Claudio Ranieri has said.
The Italian, whose side have already advanced to the knockout stages as group leaders, has chosen to rest a bunch of key players for their visit to Estadio do Dragao.
“Available are all the players who have travelled with me. Not available are (Islam) Slimani, (Kasper) Schmeichel, Robert Huth, (Jamie) Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and (Andy) King,” Ranieri told the club website. (www.lcfc.com).
He said Polish teenager Bartosz Kapustka also did not make the trip to Portugal due to an ankle injury.
“He is very unlucky in this period.”
Goalkeeper Schmeichel is still recovering from a hand injury, while Ranieri does not want to risk striker Slimani and defender Huth, who are both a booking away from a one-game suspension.
“I prefer to leave and maintain there, because some are not in good condition… some can recover well. The others are two (Slimani and Huth) yellow cards and we don’t want to take a risk,” the 65-year-old said.
Ranieri acknowledged that while he wants to use the opportunity to give European experience to new faces, he might have resorted to the usual suspects if the game in Portugal was a decider.
“We work so good together, but there are some players that haven’t played so far. They deserve to show (their) potential… It’s difficult to say because maybe if we had to win tomorrow, maybe all my players they would be here.”
A win will assure qualification for Porto, who are placed second in the group with eight points, two ahead of Copenhagen, who will visit Club Brugge.