14 Jan Ranieri laughs off title contenders tag
Claudio Ranieri admits he still laughs at suggestions his Leicester side can win the Barclays Premier League this season.
The Foxes moved level on points with leaders Arsenal after Robert Huth’s late header saw them leave Tottenham with a 1-0 win on Wednesday evening.
Those three points, coupled with Liverpool’s late leveller against the Gunners, leaves the top two locked together on 43 points.
Leicester have continued to defy the odds as a season set to be another battle against the drop has morphed into one which leaves them as genuine title contenders in January.
But Ranieri, who saw Huth head home Christian Fuchs’ 82nd-minute corner to wrap up the win at Tottenham four days after they drew 2-2 at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup, insists he still finds it amusing when people say his team can lift the title.
When asked how he responds to questions about winning the league, the Italian replied: “I laugh!
“It is January. If it was May, maybe! It is only January – it is not May.
“It is okay, it is good, we will continue to work hard and remain on the ground. It is a crazy, crazy, crazy league this year.”
Ranieri made nine changes from the team that was only a minute away from knocking Spurs out of the FA Cup on Sunday – only for Harry Kane to draw the hosts level with a late penalty.
Riyad Mahrez and fit-again Jamie Vardy returned but it was Huth’s goal, his first of the season, and an inspired performance from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel which were the backbone of a 12th league win of the campaign.
“Vardy and Mahrez for us are very important and when you score without them you say ‘good’,” added Ranieri.
“We drew the match in the cup with Marcin Wasilewski and Shinji Okazaki (scoring) and then tonight with Robert Huth – it is good.
“We created a lot of chances and not only with Mahrez or Vardy but a lot of players can make goals and that is important for the team.
“We scored a goal and Kasper made a fantastic save – third match in a row, clean sheet, I’m very, very glad.”