By Danny Wright

24th Feb, 2017 | 4:16pm

Benitez delivers verdict on Claudio Ranieri, has this hope for the future

By Danny Wright

Rafa Benitez has accused the Leicester board of having short memories after Claudio Ranieri was sacked by the club on Thursday.

The Newcastle boss also described his good friendship with the 2016 LMA manager of the year and is surprised at how the Premier League champions have treated him.

The Shields Gazette covered Benitez’s press conference ahead of his side’s clash with Bristol City on Saturday and he spoke about Ranieri’s dismissal: “It’s obviously a surprise because after winning the title, and even playing well in the Champions League, it was surprising,” he said.

“I know Claudio from a long time ago. I am really surprised for a good coach, a good manager and a good friend.

“Football has changed a lot and people do not have memories. Hopefully, he can relax a bit and get a good job in the future.”

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Ranieri was sacked by Leicester after Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss at Sevilla in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Jamie Vardy’s away goal was enough to keep the Foxes in the tie ahead of the home trip, however the Italian will no longer be in charge to continue his legacy at the club.

The two managers last faced each other in March 2016 in a fateful game that would see Leicester continue their march towards their title while Newcastle slumped closer to their eventual relegation.

The Toon look on track to secure an instant return to the Premier League this season and with struggling  Bristol City coming up, their fans will be hopeful they can increase their grip on top spot in the Championship.

Their following three fixtures, however, are against their nearest rivals for automatic promotion.

They face Brighton, Huddersfield and Reading in a triple-header of fixtures that could secure the Magpies’ fate for the year.

In other Newcastle news, Paul Merson delivers his prediction for the club’s game against Bristol City.

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