The Foxes entertain Newcastle tonight after Tottenham cut the gap at the top to two points with their win at Aston Villa yesterday, with the top two looking increasingly like the only challengers for the title in the run-in.
Ranieri has repeatedly refused to talk about the Foxes’ chances of winning the league and Schlupp believes the Italian’s influence has been key.
He said: “It just humbles everyone and keeps everyone grounded. We definitely don’t want to get carried away and the way the manager has been with us has really just kept us there, kept us going and he always makes sure we keep working, working and not slacking at anything.”
One of Ranieri’s methods for keeping his players alert in training was to ring an imaginary bell —‘dilly ding dilly dong’— and Schlupp believes it has been useful.
He said: “That’s one of the manager’s favourite phrases! It just means to keep alert really and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“He just uses it when people are a bit low or getting comfortable with what they’re doing, it’s almost like a wake-up shout.”
Schlupp has just returned after three months out with a hamstring injury, but helped the Foxes to a 1-0 win at Watford last week and said Ranieri has the squad’s complete faith.
He told Foxes Player: “He’s called the Tinkerman but he just keeps working. We’ve got to trust our manager and trust his decisions.
“That’s what he gets paid for, that’s his job so we leave that to him. That’s his decision so we just do what he wants and be ready if we’re called upon.”
New Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez returns to a dugout tonight for the first time since he watched his Real Madrid side draw 2-2 against Valencia at the Mestalla.
Newcastle remain in 19th place in the table and a point from safety, and although Benitez is confident there is enough quality in the squad he inherited from Steve McClaren to escape,
He wore a broad smile as he was introduced to the media at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon, but he arrived knowing he faces a major challenge if he is to drag the club out of a parlous situation with just 10 games of the season remaining.
The Magpies looked devoid of confidence, organisation and ideas in the death throes of Steve McClaren’s reign, and the Toon Army will be looking intently for reasons to believe at the King Power Stadium.