Ranieri to bring back key pair

Leicester City

Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani are set to return for Leicester's Champions League Group G visit of FC Copenhagen on Tuesday.

Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri started the duo on the bench in Leicester’s 3-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea on Saturday, but is almost certain to name them in his XI at the King Power Stadium.

Shinji Okazaki is fit after being left out of the squad at the weekend following international duty with Japan, but Nampalys Mendy will be missing after going under the knife to clear up some bone in his ankle.

The midfielder has been sidelined since August after suffering the injury and has made just two appearances after joining the club from Nice in the summer.

Meanwhile, Ranieri insists the Foxes’ Champions League future hinges on their Copenhagen clashes.

Leicester host the Danish champions with their Premier League title defence already faltering following four defeats in eight games.

Leicester lost just three times last season as they lifted the title by 10 points in the biggest shock in Premier League history.

But they have won both of their Group G matches in the Champions League and now face back-to-back games against Copenhagen, with the return tie on November 2.

And after admitting he prioritised Europe in his team selection for their 3-0 loss at Chelsea on Saturday, Ranieri knows their next games are vital.

“At this moment it’s a priority because in the Premier League we must be safe at the end of the year, the Champions League is now,” he said.

“The next two are very important for us and will tell us what we can do in the Champions League.”


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