Former manager says he may have been pushed out of Leicester
Italian led the Foxes to the Premier League title last season but was dismissed in February.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Italian led the Foxes to the Premier League title last season but was dismissed in February.
“I can’t believe my players killed me. No, no, no,” he said in an interview.
“Maybe it was someone behind me. I had a little problem the year before and we won the title. Maybe this year, when we lose, these people push a little more.”
When Ranieri was sacked Leicester were one point above the Premier League relegation zone.
Assistant manager Craig Shakespeare was placed in charge and presided over five successive league victories and a Champions League last-16 win against Sevilla.
“I listen to a lot of stories,” added 65-year-old Ranieri, who refused to identify who he was referring to.
“I don’t want to say who it is. I am a loyal man. What I had to say, I said face to face.”
In the aftermath of Ranieri’s exit, some reports suggested that the players had been instrumental in his dismissal.
The likes of striker Jamie Vardy and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel have since then publicly denied that the squad were involved.
Ranieri’s final game in charge was a 2-1 defeat away to Sevilla.
The Foxes won the return leg under Shakespeare 2-0 to earn a UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid.
“I thought the Sevilla match was a turning point,” said the former Chelsea manager. “Everyone was fighting together, Jamie Vardy scored a goal."
“But I found out on the way home that I would be sacked. It was a shock for me and for a lot of other people.”
Ranieri’s dismissal sparked a wave of support from fellow managers, pundits and supporters, with former Leicester and England striker Gary Lineker saying he “shed a tear”.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wore Ranieri’s initials on his shirt and said that the Leicester players were “selfish”.
The Italian said he received support from all across the world.
“It was amazing,” he said. “When we won the title I received gifts and cards, bottles of wine and Champagne. When I was sacked, my house was full."
“In case I don’t have the time to reply to all of them, I want to thank all the fans."
“I have won trophies around Europe, but never the title. Three times I was runner-up. Leicester and the fans will be in my heart for all of my life.”