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 By PA Sport

Claudio Ranieri: Champions League not a distraction for Leicester

Claudio Ranieri does not believe Leicester City's Champions League exploits are to blame for their poor Premier League form.

Ranieri's men are unbeaten in Europe this season and are yet to concede a goal, but in the Premier League they have lost six of their opening 12 fixtures, only taking one point away from home and sit just two points above the bottom three.

Leicester are top of Group G, three points clear of Porto, but have only won three league games this season -- failing to win before any European game -- yet Ranieri insisted they remain focused on both fronts.

"No, I don't think it's a distraction," he told a news conference. "It's enjoyment. I don't see the difference.

"If you see the match against Watford and the match against Copenhagen or Brugge or Porto, it's the same. The difference is in the Champions League matches we score, in the other matches, no.

"Our focus is this: try to win tomorrow and then go back into the Premier League and try to improve our table. Yes of course I have to work harder, everyone has to work harder.

"The team, the lads are very strong and we know we have to fight a lot and we have to change this way but now we have the opportunity to go in the Champions League knockouts.

"We achieved the third position [in the group] but of course now we want to achieve something more. Our fairytale is continuing, we did something special last season and we're doing it again this season."

Riyad Mahrez has struggled to find top form but does have three goals and one assist in Europe having scored twice in September's 3-0 win at Bruges.

Riyad Mahrez has not hit top gear in the Premier League this season.

He has scored just one goal from open play in his last 20 club games and the Algerian said performing in the Champions League brings the best out of him.

"To be honest I enjoy the Champions League like the Premier League. When I was younger we wanted to play in the Champions League and now we are playing in this and we are doing well," he said.

"There is no special game for me because all the games are important and I enjoy all the games.

"We are winning the games in the Champions League. Obviously when we win there are some players who come on to the team and score goals. Islam [Slimani] scores goals and we defend very well. Zero goals conceded, so when we start to win in the Premier League as well everyone will be better."

Kasper Schmeichel remains sidelined with the hand he fractured in the 0-0 draw in Copenhagen this month and Slimani is out with a groin injury while Nampalys Mendy and Ben Chilwell (both ankle) are also out.

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