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Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri 'very sad' after late defeat to Arsenal

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said he and his players were left "very sad'' by the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal and was unhappy with referee Martin Atkinson.

Jamie Vardy had put the Foxes ahead with a penalty on the stroke of half-time having been tripped by Nacho Monreal but, after Danny Simpson was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in five minutes, Theo Walcott levelled after coming off the bench.

With Arsenal laying siege to Kasper Schmeichel's goal, Arsene Wenger threw on Danny Welbeck, who had played just an hour for the under-21s as he strives for fitness having not played a senior game since last April, and the former Manchester United man was on hand to glance home Mesut Ozil's free-kick in the fifth minute of added time.

Asked how his players were feeling, the Italian said: "Very sad. Me too. My reaction is to laugh with you because I am strong and I want my players to follow me.

"If I think about the match I am very angry because I think maybe I make mistakes but an international referee gives two yellow cards for normal fouls and the match was full of fouls.

"I remember the first half when we scored and there was a bad tackle from Aaron Ramsey and it was a yellow card but it is not the same yellow card when Simpson stopped the other player.

"Maybe [he sent Simpson off] because the crowd pushed a lot and put him under pressure. But I am very proud of my players. They showed a fantastic performance.

"Also sometimes the referee stopped the time at 94 [minutes] -- four minutes' extra time. But there were five minutes' extra time when they scored. Sometimes they stopped when it was a corner or a free-kick, finished. But it's okay. It doesn't matter. We continue to fight.''

Ranieri also revealed he has given his squad a week off, with no FA Cup commitments next weekend.

"It's the same as if you won the match. 'Go home, and we will see you next Monday' because they deserve it. They made a fantastic performance today. They go, I don't know where, Dubai maybe. They go wherever they want.''

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