Now or never for the title – Ranieri

22 Apr

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Now or never for the title – Ranieri

Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri believes it is “now or never” for the Foxes to win the Premier League title.

Leicester have enjoyed a remarkable campaign and are five points clear of Tottenham at the top of the table with four games remaining.

They are already guaranteed a top-three finish and Champions League football next season, and Ranieri say his focus is now on winning the title.

“It is this year or never more,” he told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

“We achieved the Champions League – a great achievement for everyone but now we try to win the title with all our strength, all our heart, our soul, everything.

“We need eight points and we are champions, and we try to do this. I said to my players, ‘now is the right moment to push to the end.'”

‘A special season’

Banner depicting Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri as The Godfather<!–

He is the boss: Leicester fans have a banner depicting Ranieri as Don Corleone from film The Godfather

Leicester winning the title ahead of some of the more traditional challengers has been compared to Nottingham Forest’s achievements in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Under Brian Clough, Forest won the then First Division title in 1978 in what was their first season in the top flight, before lifting successive European Cups.

What Leicester have achieved so far has been described as a football miracle, but former Chelsea boss Ranieri said: “It’s not a miracle. It is a strange moment.

“This is something in special circumstances and that is why I say ‘now or never more’, because next season will be different. The big teams will be stronger and better but of course we are doing something special this season.”

Doing it for the fans

Claudio Ranieri in his final home game in charge of Chelsea<!–

Claudio Ranieri was a hugely popular figure with Chelsea supporters but was unable to win a trophy during nearly four years at Stamford Bridge

As well as England, Ranieri has previously managed in Italy, Spain and France but has never won a domestic top-flight title.

However, the 64-year-old says he is not concerned with what a title win will mean for him personally.

“I am glad when I see the people happy,” he said. “Football is a show. I believe if we win a match people go back home happy to their family. They go back to work happy – that is good for me.

“From the beginning, the fans came with me with their heart and started to sing some songs with me from the beginning. That was good.

“I know there were some people said ‘why Ranieri?’ but the fans were always behind me. They were happy.”

‘We can cope without Vardy’

Jamie Vardy<!–

Jamie Vardy was shown a second yellow card for diving during Leicester’s draw with West Ham

Leicester will be without 22-goal striker Jamie Vardy for their game against Swansea on Sunday as he serves a one-match suspension after accepting a Football Association charge of improper conduct.

The 29-year-old had confronted referee Jon Moss after being sent off in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham.

Ranieri added: “Without him I don’t have another Vardy, but without him I believe we can do something special.”

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