Friday 21 September 2018

Ranieri: Make our dream a reality

Leicester 4-0 Swansea

Claudio Ranieri Photo: Getty Images
Claudio Ranieri Photo: Getty Images

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has called on his players to finish the job and win the Premier League.

The Foxes cruised to a 4-0 win over insipid Swansea on Sunday to move eight points clear at the top of the table.

They need just five points from their final three games to guarantee the title, after being 5,000-1 to win the league at the start of the season.

Leonardo Ulloa replaced the suspended Jamie Vardy and scored twice while Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton also netted as they moved further clear of second-placed Tottenham.

Ranieri said: "I talked to my players before the match and I said we had a dream so far, now make a dream reality.

"Now is the right moment to push. If Tottenham are better than us, okay, but we have to fight because we will never have this fantastic moment.

"Now there are only three matches, we know they are very important for our history but for this reason we give everything. We play with our hearts and it's difficult to beat those who play with the heart and soul."

They breezed past Swansea without the banned Vardy and Ranieri was proud they answered the doubters.

He said: "It's important because everyone wanted to see our answer without Jamie Vardy and that was a fantastic answer in my opinion.

"I am very, very pleased with Leonardo, he scored twice, I am very pleased with (Jeff) Schlupp and all of my players. Leonardo made a fantastic performance, he jumped, he scored two goals, he attacked, he defended. Well done."

Tottenham will cut the gap if they beat West Brom at White Hart Lane tonight but if they slip up Leicester can win the title at Manchester United next week.

Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin watched his side capitulate after captain Ashley Williams' mistake gifted Mahrez a 10th-minute opener.

They are safe this season but have now shipped seven goals in their last two games following last week's 3-0 defeat at Newcastle.

Guidolin said: "Leicester deserve to win the title because this is a very strong team.

"This is a dream for Leicester and I understand a few weeks ago why Claudio had tears (at Sunderland). I am very happy for him."

'History makes us who we are' read a banner held aloft by the home fans, whose early nerves were audible after Spurs' dominant win against Stoke and Leicester's rare slip-up against West Ham.

Palpable tension soon turned to unbridled joy when Mahrez showed impressive composure to send a left-footed strike inside the near post.

Ranieri's men would not have to wait long to increase their lead as Wayne Routledge's foul on Wes Morgan led to a free-kick on the left flank, which Drinkwater curled in for Ulloa to superbly head home having got the better of Williams.

"Are you watching, Tottenham?" echoed around the King Power Stadium but Swansea tried to peg back the hosts, with Fernandez again heading over before ex-Tottenham midfielder Sigurdsson tested Kasper Schmeichel from distance.

Leicester were far more ruthless and grabbed a third in the 60th minute thanks to Schlupp's pace and power, allowing him to beat Fernandez to the ball down the left. Williams denied his attempted pass to Ulloa but he reacted quickly to prod forwards, with the striker stretching to turn home at the far post.

Albrighton was there to slam home the fourth after Swans keeper Fabianski impressively kept out the initial strike.

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