Wednesday 7 December 2016

'We are difficult to beat because we play with heart and soul'- Foxes' boss Ranieri primed for title run-in

Nick Mashiter

Published 24/04/2016 | 21:10

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has called on his players to finish the job and win the Barclays Premier League.

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The Foxes cruised to a 4-0 win over insipid Swansea on Sunday to move eight points clear at the top of the table. They need just five points from their final three games to guarantee the title, after being 5,000-1 to win the league at the start of the season.

Leonardo Ulloa replaced the suspended Jamie Vardy and scored twice while Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton also netted as they moved further clear of second-placed Tottenham.

Ranieri said: "I talked to my players before the match and I said we had a dream so far, now make a dream reality. Now is the right moment to push. If Tottenham are better than us, okay, but we have to fight because we will never have this fantastic moment.

"Now there are only three matches, we know they are very important for our history but for this reason we give everything. We play with our hearts and it's difficult to beat those who play with the heart and soul."

They breezed past Swansea without the banned Vardy and Ranieri was proud they answered the doubters. He said: "It's important because everyone wanted to see our answer without Jamie Vardy and that was a fantastic answer in my opinion.

"I am very, very pleased with Leonardo, he scored twice, I am very pleased with (Jeff) Schlupp and all of my players. Leonardo made a fantastic performance, he jumped, he scored two goals, he attacked, he defended. Well done."

Tottenham will cut the gap if they beat West Brom at White Hart Lane on Monday but if they slip up Leicester can win the title at Manchester United next week.

Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin watched his side capitulate after captain Ashley Williams' mistake gifted Mahrez a 10th-minute opener.

They are safe this season but have now shipped seven goals in their last two games following last week's 3-0 defeat at Newcastle.

Guidolin said: "Leicester deserve to win the title because this is a very strong team. This is a dream for Leicester and I understand a few weeks ago why Claudio had tears (at Sunderland). I am very happy for him.

"Today I saw my team fight for 90 minutes against the strongest team in the Premier League. We have to improve, (conceding goals) it is not a problem of defenders, it is a problem of the team."

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