Ranieri wants Foxes to ‘keep dreaming’

8 May

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Leicester 3-1 Everton: Ranieri tells fans ‘keep dreaming, why wake up’

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has told the club’s fans to “keep dreaming” after his side celebrated their fairytale Premier League victory.

The Foxes lifted the trophy, a first top-flight title in their 132-year history, after beating Everton at home.

Leicester were 5,000-1 to be champions after avoiding relegation last season.

“We know very well next season everything will be different but the fans are dreaming – keep dreaming,” said Ranieri. “Why wake up?”

A giant mural of Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri, created by artist Richard Wilson<!–

Ranieri’s appointment was greeted with scepticism in some quarters but his place in Leicester history is assured

As English champions, the Foxes will go straight into the group stages of the Champions League for the 2016-17 campaign.

There has been speculation about the future of many of the club’s players, including winger – and PFA Player of the Year – Riyad Mahrez and midfielder N’Golo Kante.

“If they are intelligent they stay with us another year,” said Ranieri. “The Champions League is very difficult. Then after this next experience they can go.

“If they ask me something, I say ‘stay with me’. But if somebody comes to me and says ‘I’d like to go’ then go because I want only happy players with me.”

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Emotional pre-match scenes for Foxes

After a 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in February when they were reduced to 10 men following Danny Simpson’s dismissal, Leicester’s lead at the top of the Premier League was only two points.

However, Ranieri said it was that result, along with a 3-1 win at Manchester City, that gave him the belief in his side’s ability to see out their improbable title bid.

“I had some good feeling when we beat Manchester City and also when we lost 2-1 against Arsenal in 95 minutes,” said the Italian.

“I said we can do something special because if Arsenal is fighting 11 versus 10 and scores after 95 minutes then we can do something special.”

‘Someone put a spell on me’

Jamie Vardy holds aloft the Premier League trophy<!–

Jamie Vardy – who scored twice against Everton – is one goal behind the Premier League’s top scorer Harry Kane

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy scored two goals against Everton to take his league tally to 24 for the season, and also missed a penalty.

The England international left the field clutching his left hamstring at the final whistle but eased concerns over his Euro 2016 availability when he said it was only cramp.

“I think someone put a spell on me to make it happen this season,” he told Sky Sports.

“Everyone works as hard and if someone is having an off-game then we know we have someone behind us to pick us up and keep us going.

“It’s been a very, very long and hard process to get where I am today. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it without friends, and the team behind me as well.”

He added: “We’re like brothers – as soon as training is finished we’re always in touch.”

‘No egos in our team’

Wes Morgan<!–

Morgan has been ever present at the heart of Leicester’s defence this season

Leicester captain Wes Morgan called it “an unbelievable feeling to finally get my hands on the trophy”.

“I had to hold back the tears, I held them back and lifted it up – it was the best feeling in the world,” said the centre-back.

“Everyone has been going on about how I was going to lift the trophy and saying don’t drop it and putting some pressure on me. There is no better feeling than lifting the trophy.

“Hopefully, we can crack on from here. It is a big, big season next season but I want to enjoy the moment.

“It’s like a dream but now it’s a reality and you just want to enjoy it.”

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Leicester 3-1 Everton: Foxes lift the Premier League trophy


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