Tuesday 25 October 2016

Ranieri: We need to play without fear

Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri Photo:Getty
Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri Photo:Getty

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has told his players they have to enjoy their football and not be restricted by their place at the top of the Premier League.

The Foxes retained their spot at the summit despite a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool courtesy of Christian Benteke's goal as later in the day Arsenal blew their chance to overtake them at Southampton.

Pressure will only increase as the second half of the season begins to tick down and Ranieri is keen to avoid a repeat of what he saw at Anfield where his side were over-anxious.

"You know my idea about this (the title) - we are dreaming," said the Italian, whose side face Manchester City at home tomorrow.

"We are in good condition and in a good position with 38 points.

"Now we can continue but I want to see my players enjoy it. I don't know why we were so nervous at the beginning. Why?

"Play football, don't worry. If you lose, lose. That's it. We have the time."

Leicester's two leading scorers Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were both substituted at Anfield even though they were still chasing an equaliser.

Ranieri admitted he was mindful not to burn them out with City next up with many more challenges to come.

"Both were tired and Vardy played with a fever and I didn't want to give him more minutes to play, I wanted to preserve him," he added. "City is another fantastic test."

Defender Danny Simpson admits a first defeat in three months came as a blow but believes the players will bounce back.

"It has been a tough few weeks but we know we will pick ourselves up," he said.

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