“Relegation is close” for Leicester warns Claudio Ranieri after sixth defeat

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Leicester swept to the title last season on a wave of momentum – but their follow-up Premier League campaign is fast becoming a momentous flop.

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The champions are just two points above the drop zone following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Watford, as the threat of relegation grows.

All the qualities which propelled Claudio Ranieri’s 5,000-1 shots to the Premier League crown six months ago seem long gone – on the evidence of their latest performance, possibly for ever.

Boss Ranieri started nine of his ­regulars from last season at Vicarage Road, yet his side looked strangely disjointed.

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Etienne Capoue volleyed the Hornets into the lead after just 33 seconds – their fastest ever Premier League goal – before Roberto Pereyra curled in a second after 12 minutes.

Leicester pulled one back when Riyad Mahrez converted a penalty after Miguel Britos’ clumsy foul on Jamie Vardy — yet another spot-kick won by the England striker.

But City remain without an away league victory this term and this was their sixth loss — double the amount they suffered in the entire 2015-16 campaign.

Skipper and centre-half Wes Morgan, an ever-present last term, said: “When you are full of confidence, you feel you can win every game you play. But at the moment things aren’t falling for us.

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“It is hard to take any positives from the game, but we did put a lot of effort in and I think the fans saw that. One or two wins will put us back on track.

“Momentum is a big thing. Once we find our consistency again that will change our luck and we can start climbing up that table.”

Though Leicester are on the verge of a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, Ranieri admitted the spectre of relegation is looming.

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“Last season, always I was watching behind me and this season I am watching behind me,” he said.

“I was very happy with our spirit and performance — only the result was wrong. But with this spirit, sooner or later we will get better.”

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