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Thursday 27 October 2016

Premier League survival remains priority for Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri

Published 14/09/2015 | 06:24

Claudio Ranieri is unbeaten in five Premier League games with Leicester
Claudio Ranieri is unbeaten in five Premier League games with Leicester

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri is refusing to take Barclays Premier League survival for granted despite his side's sublime start to the season.

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The unbeaten Foxes moved up to second in the embryonic standings after bouncing back from two goals down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 for their third victory in five matches.

Leicester's current position is even more remarkable after their struggles last season, when they were bottom of the table at Christmas and with nine games to go, until seven wins catapulted them away from the bottom three.

It was anticipated the east midlands club would again struggle to avoid the drop, and Ranieri, for now, only has eyes on reaching the 40-point mark, widely viewed as the total needed to remain in the top-flight.

"I talk to the players and say we have 11 points - we need another 29," said the affable Italian.

"I don't know when we will achieve this, which month, but the sooner the better it is possible. This is our goal only at the moment.

"I don't think about what we can do, I just want the best."

Leicester appeared set for their first defeat of the campaign after a couple of wonderful curling efforts from Jack Grealish, his first goal for Villa, and Carles Gil put the visitors firmly in the driving seat with less than half an hour to go.

But Ritchie De Laet's header gave them hope, with his near-post flick headed clear by Ashley Westwood only after the ball had crossed the line.

Then Jamie Vardy and substitute Nathan Dyer, making his debut following his loan arrival from Swansea during the international break, struck in the final eight minutes to secure a memorable victory for Leicester.

"My players were fantastic - fantastic spirit and character," Ranieri said.

"At 2-0 I look at my players and they still believe it is possible. That is the spirit I love. The players believed in something good as a group and that is what I want.

"You can lose, of course, but it is important to fight until the end of the match. This victory is important to restart well after the (international) break and to get three points is fantastic."

For just over and hour it was probably Villa's best performance of the season but they remain without a league win since the opening day of the season and manager Tim Sherwood could not hide his dejection.

"I've never felt this bad, ever. Who cares? Who cares if we played well?" he said.

"I'm bitterly disappointed for everyone associated with the club because the game is won with around 30 minutes to go.

"The game was done, it was finished with us 2-0 up. At this level the game should be dead and buried but unfortunately we've made some unforced errors and it has cost us the game.

"Individual errors. It has been happening a bit this season but it needs to stop happening."

Press Association

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