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Ranieri wants Leicester ‘dream’ to continue

Ranieri and Leicester are on cloud nine. Photo: The Sun
Ranieri and Leicester are on cloud nine. Photo: The Sun
Ranieri and Leicester are on cloud nine. Photo: The Sun

Claudio Ranieri lauded his players after Leicester beat Stoke 3-0 in the weekend and says he wants the club’s fans “to continue to dream”.

Goals from Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa sealed the victory for the Foxes, who are now three points clear of Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

Ranieri told BBC Sport: “It was very difficult to fight against Stoke but we scored at the right time. I think it was the first goal outside of the box. We can’t press every match but we tried to do that today. They tried to catch us with big diagonal passes but we covered it very well.”

Of Leicester’s run this season, he said: “Nobody can believe it. Our fans are dreaming and I want them to continue to dream.”

Ranieri wants a new striker

However, the Italian is bracing for a tough February, and hopes he can sign a new striker to lighten the load.

Ranieri, who let Andrej Kramaric join German club Hoffenheim on loan last week, said: “I’d like another striker to give support to the other three, because our strength is playing at a high intensity and it’s not possible to play at high intensity for all the season. Everyone is reinforcing or taking [new] players because they want to save their season or want to win something. We want to maintain our position. I know it’s difficult but we must try.”

Leicester’s display was an impressive return to form for a team who had scored just twice in their preceding five league matches. But the real challenge comes now. The next three games – against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal – will determine where Leicester end up at the end of the season.

‘Important to be top going into February’

Ranieri admits getting to the top of the Premier League heading into February was a priority.

“It was very important to be top of the league at the end of January because now February is a month that is very, very tough. Liverpool, Arsenal, City – it is unbelievable. But we are ready to fight,” said Ranieri.

“Now the players will have three days off, to clear the minds. And when they come back we restart to work hard because the league for us is very exciting.

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