Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri urged his players to stay focused after a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.


Riyad Mahrez scored the first-half goal that brought the Foxes maximum points at Selhurst Park, but they had to withstand some strong pressure after the break before clinching a fourth successive 1-0 win.

Manager Ranieri told Sky Sports after the match: “Concentration is very important for us. Now the other teams have to do something.

“It was tough, but we played so well and we deserved to win. We created three or four great chances to score.

“I think now we are close to achieving the Champions League. That is a great achievement, but it is step by step.

“I’m not dreaming of it [the title]. I make a comparison between the race for the title and each match. You don’t know what will happen until the end.

“It sounds good, our fans are singing a very good song about that, but we need to stay calm.

“We have to continue to push a lot because the Champions League is very close for us. Maybe in the next two matches I can say something more.”

Ranieri also said that even if Leicester don’t win the Premier League title, it will still have been an amazing season for the Foxes, with the world watching and supporting the shock success for the one-time relegation candidates.

“Believe me, I’m very happy with this season,” Ranieri said. “I remember at the start of the season … I have not forgotten.

“The goal was to save the team [from relegation to the Championship] and now everybody is speaking about us. Not only in England, all over the world. Everyone is pushing behind us and that is a great energy that we feel.

“If in the end someone is better than us, we still had a fantastic achievement. We have to be focused. Sometimes I’ve said we are at the last turn, and now we are on the final, home straight. Now I want to see my horses, how they run.

“There are seven matches to go at the end. It’s not easy for us for now. We are Leicester. We aren’t a team like [Manchester] United, [Manchester] City, Chelsea. [For them] five points or eight points clear, it would be finished.”

Palace counterpart Alan Pardew, whose side are without a Premier League win in 2016, praised the Foxes, whose biggest scare came when the Eagles’ Damien Delaney hit the top of the bar in injury time.

He said: “They showed in the first half why they’re top of the league — we couldn’t really make any impact on them.

“They’re very strong, discipline-wise, in terms of their defensive duties. It was very hard to get through them. We couldn’t create anything, and they deserved the lead at half-time. But we need to improve.”