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Claudio Ranieri wants to make Premier League establishment squirm

Published 19/01/2016

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is already doing a good job of scaring the Premier League big boys
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is already doing a good job of scaring the Premier League big boys

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri wants to be the "crazy man" who frightens the Barclays Premier League elite.

The Foxes have certainly shocked everybody this season, transforming themselves from relegation strugglers 12 months ago to serious title contenders under the Italian.

Ranieri's side are level on points with league leaders Arsenal, seven points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, and t he former Chelsea boss is revelling in Leicester's role as the gatecrasher.

"Now it is a crazy league and we want to frighten this crazy league," said Ranieri, whose team host Tottenham in a FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday night.

"I want to be the most crazy man and team in the Premier League.

"It is a crazy league because if it was a normal league Leicester would not be at the top. The other bigger teams would be there.

"But there is an opportunity for us because the big teams don't start yet. If they start then Leicester will fight but we would be in the middle (of the table).

"The big teams haven't switched on turbo yet to go - and we hope they don't switch on turbo."

Despite the seven-point cushion for Champions League qualification and the nine-point gap to the final European qualification place in the Premier League table, Ranieri still remains guarded about the possibility.

He said: "I know what you want me to say, but also you know what I don't want to say.

"I would like too much to give a dream to the fans, but it is January. Wait a little longer."

Meanwhile, Matty James may make his long-awaited return to the Leicester squad against Tottenham in the cup.

The midfielder has been out for eight months with a serious knee injury but could be on the bench after playing half an hour for the development squad on Monday.

"He could come with me on the bench in the next match," said Ranieri. " For me Matty is very important. I watched a lot of matches from last season and he played very well with (Esteban) Cambiasso in the middle.

"He is young, he is strong, with a good personality, good skill, good vision. This is another very good player for me who can help the squad."

However, Jeff Schlupp's hamstring injury is worse than first realised and he will still be missing until the end of February.

Ranieri is again expected to make changes to his team for the visit of Spurs with the likes of Ben Chilwell, Marcin Wasilewski, Ritchie De Laet, Andy King, Leonardo Ulloa and Demarai Gray, set to make his home debut, all in the frame for recalls.

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