Belfast Telegraph

Francesco Guidolin inspired by Foxes' unlikely title challenge

Francesco Guidolin plans to draw inspiration from his friend Claudio Ranieri's title charge at Leicester as he attempts to steer Swansea away from relegation danger.

Leicester have opened up an unlikely five-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League ahead of their crunch visit to third-placed Arsenal on Sunday.

It is a big weekend at the top with second-placed Tottenham travelling to Manchester City in fourth, but Guidolin is more focused on the battle at the bottom with his Swansea side hoping to put more distance between themselves and the drop zone when they host Southampton.

Swansea are currently 16th and Guidolin feels they can draw encouragement from Leicester's remarkable rise from the bottom to the top over the last 12 months.

"I hope this (Leicester's situation) is of comfort to us," Swansea head coach Guidolin said.

"I am so happy for Claudio because this period is fantastic for him.

"Two or three days after I arrived here Claudio called me to say 'Welcome'.

"He told me to say it will be fantastic to work in the Premier League and I will keep talking to him.

"It is a phrase of Claudio that what Leicester have done is not a miracle because luck is something you can take.

"Two or three years ago I heard this phrase and I think it is correct.

"Leicester have played very well and have terrific organisation and enthusiasm, but we can take this luck as well."

Swansea are unbeaten in three games since Guidolin, the former Parma and Udinese coach, took charge at the Liberty Stadium.

Those five points have moved Swansea four clear of 18th-placed Norwich, but it could have been so much better but for equalisers being conceded in 1-1 draws against West Brom and Crystal Palace.

Guidolin says he has been working hard on the training ground to remedy a set-piece problem which has seen the three goals conceded during his tenure all come from corners.

"I am happy with my team, but I would be more happy if we had won last week," Guidolin said.

"We played well against Palace but we must be clinical.

"It's also important to be more focused on set-pieces and we have been working on that.

"We know this will be a difficult match because Southampton is a good team and in a good period.

"But I see my players work hard every day and I am confident."

Swansea have 27 points from 25 matches and Guidolin believes a point on average from the last 13 games will secure their top-flight status.

"We need 40 points (to stay up), but I don't know when we will get there," Guidolin said.

"We have to see match by match and be concentrated for the next game.

"We must win four or five matches and that will not be easy in the Premier League.

"Working hard, from the players and staff, will see us arrive at 40 points, but I am only thinking about Southampton now because that is the priority."

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