Heading into the match on Monday night against struggling Newcastle, Leicester are safe in the knowledge that they will still sit in the top spot of the Premier League regardless of whether or not Tottenham defeat Aston Villa on the Sunday. Ranieri’s team have led the race for the title nearly every week since their 3-0 victory over Newcastle back in November and they are just nine matches away from what would be the club’s first top title.
This is certainly testament to the coach since he was forced to deny rumours surrounding his player Riyad Mahrez, with a move to Barcelona at his pre match conference. Apart from Riyad, the likes of Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante are sure to be on the transfer wish list for many clubs this summer, however Ranieri is very confident that he can keep hold of them.
Ranieri truly believes that his players want to stay, and he is very open in the fact that this is something he has discussed with his players as they are building an extremely strong team. Playing for Leicester means that the players can improve and be really big players, whereas if they decide to go and join another bigger club I cannot predict what will happen, all I can say is that Leicester will be in a very high position.
Leicester was left frustrated in January when attempts to add to the squad did not come to fruition, however Ranieri believes that they will require a far deeper squad next season having used less players that any other club in the Premier League to date. Ranieri wants to try and sign two or three players that can improve as he is very hungry for a win after losing the FA cup and the League cup and he truly feels that the team need more strength and players to continue moving forwards.
We have built a slow foundation, and began to grow as a team, we have achieved the Europa League, the Champions League and maybe soon the title. This was our goal and next season we will start all over again with a new focus and mentality and continue to build our team.
Of all of the players in Leicester’s current squad only the reserve players have any experience of winning a title in any league, however Ranieri truly believes that the rest of the team have the hunger to maintain their winning run until the end of the season.
Ranieri is now in a far better position than he was at the beginning of the season as he is able to compare how the players are working not only on their own but as part of the entire team, and it is apparent that they are all getting better and better. The team is the superstar no one team member and everyone has to work together. Whilst my experience may help them, maybe they just believe in themselves more, however this is not something that we discuss. Ranieri is the first to admit that it is vital for him that when he tells any of the players something and he sees that they are trying to do what he has asked is that they are doing it for their team and not for him. With this mentality Leicester City certainly looks like they could be true contender for many titles in the future.