Claudio Ranieri geared up for final assault on Premier League title

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has finally targeted the title and told his Foxes to go for glory.
Claudio Ranieri geared up for final assault on Premier League title

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 to the Baggies.

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. Yes man, only this remains. I wanted 79 points and we have to fight more now.

“I talk 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, dilly ding, dilly dong — come on. We are in the Champions League, it is fantastic, terrific. Well done to everybody.”

Ranieri will be without 22-goal 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 Vardy could be hit by a further ban when a hearing is held next week.

“We know he has one match off and our preparation is without him. He trained very well and he 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 Hodgson felt Vardy had a right to feel upset after 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.”

Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin hopes his old friend Ranieri leads Leicester to the tile but that won’t stop him targeting victory tomorrow.

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.

“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.

“I will give Claudio one of my favourite wines — a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo — but my job is to see my team play well and fight against the first team in the table.

“This is a new situation for Claudio and I hope for him that Leicester can win the title because they deserve to.”

More in this section

Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Home Delivery


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox