Sunday 25 September 2016

Claudio Ranieri: Leicester will be happy with a top-10 finish next year

In pics: Even the boss got involved in a fun-filled training day after title win

Published 03/05/2016 | 11:35

Claudio Ranieri says his emotions were at "the maximum level" after Leicester were crowned Barclays Premier League champions.

  • Go To

Tottenham's 2-2 draw at Chelsea ensured the Foxes completed one of the greatest shocks in English football as they won the title for the first time in the club's 132-year history.

Leicester finished 14th, just six points above the relegation zone, at the end of last season but Ranieri's 5,000-1 shots are now seven points clear at the top and cannot be caught with two games left.

It is also Ranieri's first top-flight triumph in his managerial career and the 64-year-old admits emotions were running high when the full-time whistle blew at Stamford Bridge.

Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri during a training session at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri during a training session at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri (right) watches a training session at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City Training - Leicester - 3/5/16 Leicester's Shinji Okazaki arrives for training Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City Training - Leicester - 3/5/16 Leicester's Wes Morgan arrives for training Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City Training - Leicester - 3/5/16 Leicester's Wes Morgan arrives for training Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City Training - Leicester - 3/5/16 Leicester's Wes Morgan arrives for training Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki arrives at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Leicester City's Andy King and Danny Drinkwater (right) arrive at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

"The emotion was at the maximum level," Ranieri told Sky Sports News.

"It means the job is good. I am very, very happy now because maybe if I won this title at the beginning of my career maybe I would forget.

"Now I am an old man I can feel it much better."

Ranieri had been visiting his 96-year-old mother in Rome on Monday but landed at East Midlands airport in time to return home and watch Tottenham's draw.

Leicester's astonishing achievement will also bring Champions League football next season and Ranieri believes his side can now get even better.

"I said every time I am very happy for the fans, for the chairman and for all the Leicester community," Ranieri said.

Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City Training - Leicester - 3/5/16
Leicester's Wes Morgan arrives for training
Reuters / Darren Staples
Livepic
EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City Training - Leicester - 3/5/16 Leicester's Wes Morgan arrives for training Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

"I don't know the secret. The players, the heart, the soul and how they play.

"My message to the fans is now to keep going, we want to improve a lot."

The Italian has instilled resilience and organisation into his side while Foxes goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer says the manager's composure has been invaluable.

"He's been incredibly calm throughout the course of the whole season," Schwarzer told talkSPORT.

"He's changed very little from when you look at the make-up of the team. He's made little tweaks, he's definitely changed the way we trained a little bit.

"He's added his own technical nous to our side and he's really continued to play to our strengths and if anything he's enhanced players, encouraged players and probably given players more confidence."

Leicester City's Ben Hamer arrives at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Leicester City's Ben Hamer arrives at Belvoir Drive Training Ground, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 3, 2016. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Schwarzer is "99.9 per cent sure" he will be leaving Leicester in the summer but the 43-year-old stopper hopes the club keep their key players, including Jamie Vardy, whose 22 goals have been vital to the team's success.

"He's been incredible," Schwarzer added. "I think he genuinely loves playing at Leicester, loves the club and he's just recently signed a new deal.

"So at this stage you wouldn't think he would be moving on but in football, like we all know, anything can happen."

Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City celebrate winning Premier League title - Leicester - 3/5/16
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri (R) with his players during training
Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough
Livepic
EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Soccer Football - Leicester City celebrate winning Premier League title - Leicester - 3/5/16 Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri (R) with his players during training Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater hailed the camaraderie in the Foxes squad, revealing there was "four hours of madness" as the players celebrated winning the title at a gathering at Vardy's house on Monday night.

Drinkwater told Sky Sports: "It was brilliant, all the lads were together whilst it happened and it kind of sums us up as a group of lads.

"I've not (known a bond like it), and I think the rest of the lads would answer the question the same. It's a special moment for us lot."

He added of Ranieri: "Brilliant. He's done a fantastic job for us. I'm happy for him, he's never won this before. He's kind of put his trust in us and we've repaid him.

"He's a laid-back kind of guy and that reflects on us. It helps us when it comes to games."

The 26-year-old England international, who left Manchester United to join Leicester in 2012, said: "You look around and in three years we've won the Championship, we've won the Premier, it's bonkers. It's hard to put into words. It's mad.

"I'll be looking back at this (season) for years. It'll be something I'll be able to tell my kids about."

Ranieri saluted his side's shock win and admitted he took nothing for granted until the final whistle at Stamford Bridge.

"I believed last night," he told Sky Sports. "Of course you feel something but I am a pragmatic man and I know football well. Something strange could happen.

"It was an amazing achievement. We wanted to do something special but no-one could have believed we would do this.

"I was at home with my wife. Nothing more. I celebrate with my wife and family."

Ranieri, asked if the Foxes could repeat their amazing success next season, replied: "I think no, but we want to continue to build.

"When I came here the objective was to create a solid foundation and build together. This season is out of our project but our foundations are very solid and we want to do our best."

Ranieri, who said he was setting a top 10 finish as next season's target, is aiming to keep his current squad together and add to it if the right kind of player becomes available.

"We don't want to sell anybody. If some player doesn't want to stay with us I don't want unhappy people.

"We are looking to add to the team but with the same mentality. Who comes must know we are working hard."

Looking ahead to Leicester receiving the Premier League trophy at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, Ranieri added: "I feel good now. (Picking up the trophy) in front of our fans it will be fantastic."

Wes Morgan admitted the emotions may get the better of him when he lifts the trophy.

He said: "I am going to try to hold back the tears. it is going to be very emotional.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. It was a long night celebrating and I am feeling a bit drained at the moment.

"After the initial euphoria a lot of people couldn't believe what had happened. There were a few tears.

"I can't quite believe it. It is safe to say I never thought I would be in this position now. The journey we've been on is fantastic. It's an achievement that might not be achieved again."

Jose Mourinho offered his congratulations to Leicester and Ranieri via a CAA Sports UK statement which read: "I want to congratulate everyone connected to @LCFC; players, staff, owners and fans. I lost my title to Claudio Ranieri and it is with incredible emotion that I live this magic moment in his career."

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport