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Thursday 22 March 2018

Francesco Guidolin wants to see Claudio Ranieri land Premier League title

Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin, pictured, is aiming to stop the title charge of his friend and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri
Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin, pictured, is aiming to stop the title charge of his friend and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri has been promised a bottle of Italian red wine by Francesco Guidolin - but not before the Swansea head coach attempts to derail Leicester's title crusade.

The pair's friendship goes back four decades with Guidolin and Ranieri having played and managed against each other many times in their native Italy.

Guidolin has no hesitation in saying that he wants Ranieri to complete the Leicester fairytale and land the first national title of his 30-year coaching career.

But he still plans to give Tottenham hope of closing the five-point gap on the Foxes with a Swansea victory at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

"This is an Important game for Leicester but it is for us as well," said Guidolin.

"We are in a better position but we need points.

"I will give Claudio one of my favourite wines - a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - but my job is to see my team play well and fight against the first team in the table.

"This is a new situation for Claudio and I hope for him that Leicester can win the title because they deserve to.

"They have been in first place for many weeks and it is a dream for Leicester, the team and Claudio.

"I saw the tears in his eyes after the (Southampton) match and I think emotion is very important every week in this period.

Guidolin feels Ranieri's experience could prove crucial in the final four games of the season as he goes head-to-head with Mauricio Pochettino.

Pochettino, at 44, is 20 years younger than Ranieri and has spent the last seven years in charge of Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham.

"Claudio was one of the first managers in Italy to travel away with big teams in Europe - Valencia and Chelsea," said Guidolin.

"Tactically he is a very good manager, but he also has a lot of experience and I am sure he is going to be in control of this situation when he is under pressure.

"Pochettino is young manager who works with a big team, and in my opinion Tottenham is the best team in the Premier League.

"But I hope Claudio wins the title. He works at a little club and to see the manager, players and fans dreaming there is fantastic.

Leicester will be without Jamie Vardy on Sunday after the England striker was sent off against West Ham last weekend for two bookable offences, the second one given for simulation as he chased a ball into the penalty area.

But Guidolin feels Vardy's absence will not hurt Leicester as it comes so close to the winning line being in sight.

"Vardy is an important player for them, a fantastic striker this season," said Guidolin.

"It is not good for Leicester that he is not there, but in this period my idea is you can lose some players but remain strong as a team.

"They have the title in mind and in another moment maybe they miss Vardy.

"But they are a strong team and have one thing in mind - to win the title."

Press Association

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