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Riyad Mahrez trains hard ahead of recall against West Ham as Claudio Ranieri admits Leicester 'have to win'

  • Leicester face West Ham at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm
  • The Premier League champions are 16th, just three points from the drop zone
  • Claudio Ranieri admits that his side 'have to win' against Slaven Bilic's men 
  • Foxes boss has confirmed that Riyad Mahrez will start after being dropped 

By Nick Mashiter, Press Association

Published: 11:32 EST, 29 December 2016 | Updated: 11:37 EST, 29 December 2016

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has called Saturday's clash with West Ham one his side 'have to win' as he prepares to recall Riyad Mahrez.

The Foxes are just three points above the Premier League relegation zone after only one victory in nine games as they prepare to host the Hammers on Saturday.

Last season's shock champions lost 2-0 at home to Everton on Boxing Day, their ninth defeat in 18 league matches, having lost just three times on the way to the title in May.

Riyad Mahrez (second from right) takes part in Leicester training on Thursday morning Riyad Mahrez (second from right) takes part in Leicester training on Thursday morning

Riyad Mahrez (second from right) takes part in Leicester training on Thursday morning

Mahrez will start against West Ham after being dropped for the Boxing Day defeat by Everton Mahrez will start against West Ham after being dropped for the Boxing Day defeat by Everton

Mahrez will start against West Ham after being dropped for the Boxing Day defeat by Everton

The Foxes winger gets a hug from one of his team-mates on a chilly morning at Belvoir Drive The Foxes winger gets a hug from one of his team-mates on a chilly morning at Belvoir Drive

The Foxes winger gets a hug from one of his team-mates on a chilly morning at Belvoir Drive

If the football's on, it's on

  • Premier League
  • Premier League
  • Championship
  • League One
  • League Two
  • Scottish Premiership
  • Scottish Div 1
  • Scottish Div 2
  • Scottish Div 3
  • Ligue 1
  • Serie A
  • La Liga
  • Bundesliga

They face fellow strugglers Middlesbrough on Monday and Ranieri emphasized the Foxes need to beat West Ham.

'Yes, we have to turn to 20 points, we (have) 17. We have to win, we have to win, we have to win,' he said.

'We are not happy, nobody is happy - the chairman, me, the sporting director, staff, players. We have to react as soon as possible. We have to show all these good things on the pitch.

'The match against Everton was very even and they scored twice. It's unbelievable but that's football, we have to react, concentrate 100 per cent and fight. When we concentrate we can show a very fantastic performance.'

Ranieri also confirmed Mahrez will start after he came on as a second-half substitute against Everton.

After the defeat, he said last season's PFA Player of the Year needed to improve but has now suggested he was just rested following his efforts in the 2-2 draw at Stoke, where the Foxes played over an hour with 10 men following Jamie Vardy's red card.

Jamie Vardy will not be available for Saturday's game as he serves a three-game suspension Jamie Vardy will not be available for Saturday's game as he serves a three-game suspension

Jamie Vardy will not be available for Saturday's game as he serves a three-game suspension

Leicester winger Demarai Gray wraps up warm as Claudio Ranieri's players warm up Leicester winger Demarai Gray wraps up warm as Claudio Ranieri's players warm up

Leicester winger Demarai Gray wraps up warm as Claudio Ranieri's players warm up

Youngster Ben Chilwell gets put through his paces ahead of the game against West Ham Youngster Ben Chilwell gets put through his paces ahead of the game against West Ham

Youngster Ben Chilwell gets put through his paces ahead of the game against West Ham

'I hope he has reacted well,' added Ranieri. 'I watched him during training last week and he was (a) little tired. At 10 v 11 at Stoke he worked hard so I decided to give him rest. He will play the next match and I want to see a reaction - I wait to see a reaction.'

Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs are also available after one-match bans but Vardy continues to serve a three-match suspension.

 

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