Belfast Telegraph

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri breaks title silence and urges Foxes on to glory

By Nick Mashiter

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has finally targeted the title and told his Foxes to go for glory.

The Italian has guided the club to the top of the Premier League and they are five points clear of Tottenham with just four games left. They host Swansea tomorrow knowing a win will take them eight points clear as Spurs do not play West Brom until Monday.

The Foxes could win the title with victory at Manchester United next week if they beat Swansea and Spurs lose.

And - for the first time - Ranieri has broken his silence on their title talk and admitted it is Leicester's goal after their spot in the Champions League group stages was confirmed this week.

He said: "Now we go straight away to try to win the title. Only this remains. I wanted 79 points and we have to fight more now.

"I've said to my players, 'come on, now is the right moment to push'. I always believe, I am a positive man. If Tottenham go above us, congratulations, but I prefer to be five points ahead.

"We are in the Champions League, it is fantastic, terrific. Well done to everybody."

Ranieri will be without Jamie Vardy after the striker accepted a Football Association charge of improper conduct following his reaction to referee Jon Moss after he was sent off in last weekend's 2-2 draw with West Ham.

But Ranieri wants to move on from the incident, even though 22-goal Vardy could be hit by a further ban when a hearing is held next week.

He added: "We know he has one match off and our preparation is without him. He trained very well and was not happy but he enjoyed the training session.

"We knew he had a suspension and then we move on. "

He also welcomed comments from England boss Roy Hodgson on Vardy's situation after the Three Lions chief felt Vardy had a right to feel upset after he received a second yellow card for diving.

He said: "It's not only sympathy, it's the truth. He is going very fast and when you touch something you lose balance. Maybe it's not a penalty but sure it's not a yellow card. It's important because Roy is an honest man and said what he watched."

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 is planning a Swansea victory at the King Power.

"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. My job is to see my team play well and fight.

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

Belfast Telegraph


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